My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

Intent

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that involves many factors, related to history, geopolitics, national and religious identity and more. However, the conflict is also related to differences in value orientations, which guide attitudes and behaviors. In recent years, conflicts between Western and Muslim/Arab value orientations have been source of great tension, not only in Israel (Weinberg, 2003; Zemishlany, 2007). There is an abundance of studies on intercultural encounters (Schwartz, 1992), but not that many on encounters between Westerners and Arabs or Muslims in general, or with Palestinians or Bedouins in particular. Furthermore, most of the studies on intercultural encounters either combine theoretical and quantitative knowledge or provide a narrative, whereas integration of theory and a personal perspective seems rare. This study will try to integrate these different aspects of the intercultural encounter.

People tend to group together in communities or nations with similar value patterns (Hofstede, 2001; Ward et al., 2001). Groups tend to stereotype and distancing between groups can reinforce prejudice (Cottam et al., 2004; Samovar et al., 2009). This certainly seems true as regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Aberson et al., 2004; Rabinowitz, 1992). Personal acquaintance with people from other cultures is one of the ways to reduce prejudice. Friendships, as in intimate form of personal acquaintance, can be central in these intercultural encounters, providing the possibility to diminish stigmatization, widen horizons, and enhance mutual growth (Peterson, 2007; Sonnenschein et al., 2010). Studies on intercultural adult friendships are rare (Lee, 2008). With this dissertation, I will provide an autobiographic study of intercultural friendship, in an attempt to fill part of the gap in academic research in this field.

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About the Author

Daniel Weishut

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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