My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?
My father migrated from Germany to the Netherlands in the late 1930’s in his childhood, whereas my mother is Dutch by origin. Both my parents are Holocaust survivors. I was born in 1963 in a maternity clinic in The Hague in the Netherlands. I am the oldest of their five children. I lived most of my childhood in a small village in the East of the Netherlands, where I obtained a reform Jewish upbringing. I did not experience pressure from my family as regarding my plans for life, but I was expected to excel in whatever I chose. In my environment, it was customary to follow higher education and I did not consider otherwise. At age 17, I moved to Israel on my own in order to study and get some more Jewish education. Since then my nuclear family dispersed; my parents and siblings moved to different parts of the Netherlands, while some lived for substantial periods in other countries. I started my first job at age twenty as research assistant, while studying psychology, having before been completely dependent on my parents. I obtained first a Bachelor’s degree and then a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and many years later a Master’s degree in Business Administration as well; both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Presently studying for a Doctoral degree, I have the highest academic education in my extended family in the generations of my parents and me.
After finishing my degrees in Psychology I was drafted into the Israel Defense Force and worked for several years as a Mental Health Officer; a function in which I do reserve duty until today. I have worked in other mental health and social work settings as well. In recent years, I am self-employed as psychotherapist and organizational consultant. I enjoy working with groups and teach group work at a university-level ultra-orthodox Jewish institute. I live in French Hill, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. I perceive of myself as a global citizen, which led me to volunteer in a range of nongovernmental organizations, for social justice and otherwise. I currently fulfill leadership roles in Amnesty International and the Israeli Association for Group Facilitation and Psychotherapy. Within the realm of the friendship with Bashar, I have taken groups of people to visit the Jahalin Bedouins. I also made a small – emotional, instrumental and financial – investment in his garage.
The entire dissertation is available as a download below: Weishut, D.J.N. (2012) My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Professional School of Psychology, Sacramento, California, USA.