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

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


He stems from a family of Muslim Arabs and belongs to the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. His tribe was relocated from Beer Sheba (Israel) to the Judean desert (Palestinian Authority), by the Israeli authorities in the early fifties. He is the youngest of ten children from his father’s third – and last – wife. He was born in 1975 while his mother was herding the goats, and lived in the desert -sometimes in a tent, and sometimes in a cave – until age 12. Then he moved with his family to a house in Anata, a refugee camp near Jerusalem. Most of his siblings live in adjacent houses, but some in adjacent villages.

He walked daily for hours to reach school. There, being a poverty-stricken Bedouin child, he was initially looked down upon, but – unlike other Bedouin children – he rapidly found out that excellence brings him honor. He finished primary and secondary school, while working after school hours. He sold pieces of aluminum he found, in order to buy storybooks to read while herding the family’s goats. When he was out of money, he would look in the streets for old newspapers to read. During secondary school, he mainly worked as shepherd, for which he was paid with a goat every three or four months. Later, he worked in and around Jerusalem in a variety of jobs such as guard, hairdresser and gym-teacher. From the start of this century, it became more and more complicated for him to enter Israel, until in the last couple of years it became too difficult because of the separation wall and the lack of opportunity to obtain an entry permit. He subsequently looked for jobs in the Palestinian Authority.


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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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