My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  XII. Individualism versus Collectivism. Friendships

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XII. Individualism versus Collectivism. Friendships


In Bedouin life, relationships with family and friends are of utmost importance. Bashar experiences life in a community or group spirit. He much enjoys the togetherness of being in a group and is hardly ever alone. Much of his life is lived outside and friends are considered those who surround him, many of them being members of his extended family. He tends to meet friends on the street, at his brother’s gas station or recently in the garage. He meets them unplanned, spontaneously, and often more than one person at a time – who happens to be there. He will spend an extensive amount of time if there is something to examine and solve together (some kind of business deal or a matter requesting a solution), but he will usually not spend much time in case the relationship goes smoothly, if there is no issue to work on, or with friends who are out of sight. He has no problem aggravating his friends, but he will invest much time and energy if this caused trouble in the relationship. His investment in relationships is an issue to which I will return later, since it affects many parts of life.

I am very different from Bashar when it comes to togetherness in friendship. I consider myself a “not-that-social” person; though I have become more social during the years, I much enjoy being on my own. I have many friends, but am more selective than Bashar with whom to consider a friend. I tend to meet my friends in private, one-on-one or with partners, at their homes or sometimes in a restaurant. My meetings with friends are usually planned and for limited periods. I invest in relationships with both close and distant friends on an ongoing base, but largely virtually, through email, Facebook or Skype. More than Bashar, I try to be considerate in relationships and not to aggravate people, in order to prevent any problems.


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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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