My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  X. Intercultural Friendship

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: X. Intercultural Friendship

As described above, there is a large power differential between the Jews and the Palestinians and in intergroup encounters Jews are usually perceived as dominant. Difficulties in solving conflict were related to a combination of unfavorable attitudes, oppressive behavior and an institutional context that provides Israeli Jews with more rights than Israeli Arabs and Palestinians (Darweish, 2010). Nevertheless, one study on power relations found that Palestinians did assert minority influence on the dialogue (Maoz, 2000a). Another study of students found that “although social relations between Arab students and Jewish students are very limited, the readiness of Arab students for professional and social relations with Jewish students is greater than the perceived readiness of Jewish students for social relations with Arab students” (Diab & Mi’ari, 2007, p. 427). Even if there is a willingness to communicate, like in large group encounters at conferences, it remains highly difficult for both sides to listen to and understand one another (Weinberg & Weishut, 2011). There is one autobiographical study describing the friendship between a Palestinian Muslim woman and an Israeli Jewish man, which started at such a conference. It successfully attempted to reconcile individual friendship with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and suggested that “friendships can have a practical application in changing social and political structures in an effort to resolve the underlying conflict” (Joubran & Schwartz, 2007, p. 340).


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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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