Background: While it is generally agreed that traditional societies are more favorable toward their elders, research findings have been inconsistent. Accordingly, this study presents a cultural comparison between Jews and Arabs in Israel in attitudes toward older adults and personal views regarding one's own aging. It was assumed that Arabs would rate their culture as more tolerant toward older adults, would report spending more time with them, and express lower ageism and aging anxieties.
Method: We examined 154 native Israeli citizens, 86 Jewish and 68 Muslim Arabs, who completed measures of ageism, aging anxieties, and cultural views of older adults.
Results: Arabs rated their culture as more tolerant toward their elders, perceived older adults as significantly more contributing to society, and reported engaging in less avoiding behaviors toward them. Arabs also exhibited less general fears of growing old and concerns over one's physical appearance in old age. But it was interesting to note that Arab women reported higher scores of aging anxieties and ageist attitudes in comparison to Arab men, whereas no such differences were found among Jews.
Conclusions: Our findings point that the cultural importance of elders for the Arab cohort transcends beyond Westernization processes which affect the Arab society in Israel, and reflect the demanding role of Arab women as primary caregivers for the elders in the family. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.