Ifat Maoz Department of Communication


Winnicott, D. W. (1988). Babies and their Mothers. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley



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Winnicott, D. W. (1988). Babies and their Mothers. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Wood, P. B., & Soleitner, N. (1996). The effect of childhood interracial contact on adult antiblack prejudice. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 20, 1-17.

Wright, S. C., Aron, A., Mclaughlin-Volpe, T., & Ropp, S. A. (1997). The extended contact effect: Knowledge of cross-group friendships and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 73-90.

Yuchtman-Yaar, E. & Herman, T. (1997). The "Peace Index" project, findings and analyses: June 1996 - May 1997. Israel, Tel Aviv: The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies, Tel-Aviv University (in Hebrew).

Zupnik, Y. J. (2000). Conversational interruptions in Israeli-Palestinian “dialogue” events. Discourse Studies, 2, 85-110.



1 The present analysis was supported by a research grant from the Abraham Fund to the third author and a doctoral grant to the second author from the Herzog Center for Diplomacy and the Middle East at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The authors thank Dr. Shifra Sagy of the Department of Education at Ben-Gurion University, who was one of the teachers of this course. We also wish to thank Rabah Halabi and Michal Zak from the School of Peace at Neve Shalom who facilitated the encounters. And we wish to thank the students who took part in the discussions.

2 Monolithic construction refers to defining oneself through relevant others in a unitary and uni-dimensional manner that involves negation of the others and a positive construction of the self, disregarding internal complexity, discrepancies, and contradictions.

3 It should be noted that there are important views of identity construction that do not relate to the “other” as a major vector (Rawis, 1971; Taylor, 1985).

4 Neve Shalom is the only Jewish-Arab cooperative village in Israel. Its School of Peace is one of the largest professional organizations in Israel that conducts workshops, interventions and professional training for working through conflicts using group processes. This school is run jointly by Israeli Jews and Palestinians and equal numbers of Jews and Palestinians are on its staff.

5 Among the power issues is language, with Hebrew imposed on the Arab participants since the Jewish ones do not as a rule know Arabic.

6 For example, in 12.12.96 there was such a terrorist attack on a Jewish family, while driving their car near Beit-El (a Jewish settlement in the West Bank), killing the mother and the 12 years old son and injuring the father and daughters.

7 The Arab participants requested that their uni-national meetings would not be recorded by the researchers who, at the time when the meetings took place, were all Jews.

8 By confrontation or confrontational exchange we refer to a verbal exchange characterized by direct expression of disagreement, opposing interests and needs, or conflicting claims and interpretations.

9 For example, by choosing two male figures we totally eliminated consideration of gender issues that came up during the group process.

10 Separate interviews were conducted by the second author prior to the beginning of the group process.

11 Founded by ghetto fighters from the Holocaust, the kibbutz was almost conquered by the Egyptian army during the 1948 war.

12 Israeli Arab is the common term for Palestinian citizens of Israel and is often used to differentiate between them and the Palestinians outside the boundaries of the state.

6 At the first uni-national encounter two weeks later, Avner refers to these questions: “The first time I asked them, I really wanted to know the historical source of the Palestinian people. I tried to find out if there was something mentioned in the Koran…that can tell us that the Palestinian people was born at such and such a time, an ostensibly innocent question. But, when I thought about it at home, I could see that it could be interpreted [by the Palestinians] as a provocative question: “What do you mean by it, that we don’t have a right to be here, that we are a people without self-definition?” We say and mean the most innocent things in the world, from an honest desire to know and find out, but they seem provocative, because they [the Palestinians] are so sensitive. I don’t go around everyday with a feeling that I am a Jew, a Zionist, and an Israeli. I know it exists, but before that I am a student, I work, and so on. I think that, with them, they get the Palestinian identity, this sense of deprivation and the occupation with their mother’s milk. That’s why they are so preoccupied and sensitive, everything is interpreted as provocation.” Avner's statement bears witness to what he understood in retrospect—how Nasser could interpret his “innocent” question. But it is still difficult for Avner, even in retrospect, to see that the sensitivity concerning the legitimization of one’s own national identity also characterizes his own people.

13 Nasser refers here to a proposal made by Theodor Herzl at the Fifth Zionist Congress to establish a Jewish state in Uganda.

14 The Hebron agreement, signed in January 1997, was, as specified earlier, part of the gradual implementation of the Oslo Accords in which Israel withdrew its forces from the major parts of Hebron, the main town in Southern West Bank, and it was handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

An alternative interpretation can be suggested: that Avner's remarks indicate a substitution of one monolithic identity for the other and a stereotyping of the "others" as"them." According to this interpretation (for which we thank an anonymous reviewer), Avner became more unsympathetic to the others' views as a result of the dialogue.


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