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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: July 2009

7 - Representation of Arabs by Israeli Jews: Review of Empirical Research


This chapter reviews findings of studies that investigated views of Israeli Jews about Arabs. This line of research emerged in the late 1960s and still continues. Using different samples and research methods, researchers investigated the psychological repertoire prevalent among Israeli Jews concerning Arabs, in general and various specific Arab subgroups, as a function of different variables such as age, ethnic origin, gender, or political orientation. Some of these studies were done with a limited number of respondents, drawn from specific groups (e.g., university students or high school students), and some were done with the national sample of Jewish adults or with a national sample of a particular social sector (e.g., high school students). The studies also differ with regard to the psychological intergroup repertoire investigated: some examined stereotypes; others were interested in social distance (i.e., attitudes), emotions (e.g., hatred), or behavioral intentions; and a number of studies investigated several of these variables simultaneously. Finally, the studies were done at different times and thus reflect the nature of Arab-Jewish relations in particular periods.

A discussion of the research methods employed in the studies about intergroup relations is beyond the scope of the present book. We only note that the most frequently used method to examine stereotypes in the reviewed studies is by presenting a list of characteristics, usually traits, to the respondents, asking them to evaluate the extent to which they characterize a given group.