My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VIII. The Palestinians, the Israelis and the Dutch

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VIII. The Palestinians, the Israelis and the Dutch

I will expand on the relationships between Palestinians and Jews, and on a particular group of Palestinians, the Jahalin Bedouins, in later essays.


The Israelis

The Israeli population is made up primarily of Jews (76%). Twenty percent are Arabs (most of which are Muslim), and 4% are of other ethnic groups. 63% of the Israeli population is either first or second-generation immigrants. Furthermore, 37% of the Israeli population is of Euro-American origin, 15% of African origin and 12% of Asian origin (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2010). The State of Israel exists since 1948 and in its early years, Israel needed to absorb large waves of immigrants. These immigrants brought with them a variety of cultures. In an attempt to accommodate to the different cultural groups the idea of a social “melting pot” was created, in which “the interactions between the different groups yield a new essence, social and cultural, while the groups lose their original cultural attributes or have them considerably weakened” (Yuchtman-Yaar, 2005,  p. 93). Israel is often seen as a Western democracy, but its commitment to the value of cultural pluralism – which is central in most Western democracies – does not seem to be strong. It was argued that the national agenda leaves no room for Israeli Palestinians, favors the culture and traditions of Jews of European and American origin and is biased against the cultures and traditions of Jews of Asian and African origin (Yonah, 1994). In recent years, the absorption of Ethiopian Jews and large numbers of immigrants from the former Soviet Union became a major socio-cultural challenge. Moreover, the complex situation of second generation immigrants called for dealing with issues such as transnationalism and inequalities based on race, nationality, religion, and citizenship (Elias & Kemp, 2010). As a result of the diversity of Israeli cultures, it is possible to recognize in Israeli society as a whole a blend of individualistic and collectivistic values (Halabi & Sonnenschein, 2007; Oyserman, 1993; Sagie et al., 2005).


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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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