The Israeli perception of the Israeli-Arab conflict that we described in the previous chapter has served as a major foundation for the evolvement of the Israeli Jewish negative psychological intergroup repertoire about Arabs. In line with the model presented in Figure, we turn in the next three chapters to the presentation of this repertoire in the societal, political, educational, and cultural channels of Jewish Israeli society.
We believe that the formal societal institutions and channels of communication transmit and disseminate the psychological intergroup repertoire (mostly beliefs but also attitudes and emotions) and at the same time reflect the repertoire as held by society members. The institutions and communication channels of a society not only transmit and disseminate beliefs, but they also strengthen the confidence in them and maintain them. They present the beliefs that are shared by society members and also introduce new beliefs, which may become established and shared in the future (Bar-Tal, 2000a). In the latter case the lines of communication fulfill the role of “innovator” by exposing society members to new ideas. However, new beliefs can also originate among society members spread through informal channels of interpersonal communication, and only later appear in the formal societal channels and institutions, in which case they serve as “reflectors” of the prevailing shared beliefs.
Our analysis of Arab representation in the communication channels of Jewish Israeli society begins with a description of public discourse about Arabs, which takes place mostly through the mass media.