Acceptance and Rejection as a Source of Youth Conflict

Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz

in International Perspectives on Youth Conflict and Development

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178425
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199958528 | DOI:
Acceptance and Rejection as a Source of Youth Conflict

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In Israel, the seven main universities are the most heterogeneous spaces for interaction between Arabs and Jews. With an Arab population of 20% attending alongside Jews, Haifa University is the most heterogeneous campus in Israel and thus has been a main stage for prolonged social coexistence on the one hand and consistent bitter conflicts on the other. This chapter explores how young undergraduates identifying as Arabs and Jews perceive their mutual rejection and acceptance, in the unique context of coexistence at a nationally and religiously heterogeneous university in Israel. The goal is to understand the factors that support peaceful coexistence, and those that explain the eruption of conflicts and violent behaviors on campus. It is argued that students' perceptions of coexistence are sources of conflict and harmony. In interviews where the research team asked students to speak about the full range of their positive and negative experiences as members of national groups on campus, both Arab and Jewish students highly valued “close relationships” and “cultural diversity,” while in terms of negative experiences, Arab students reported “discrimination” and “political tension,” more frequently than Jewish students, as the main processes of rejection in their lives on campus. On the basis of such findings, the chapter challenges the university to increase acceptance, and reduce rejection, on its heterogeneous campus.

Keywords: Arab youths; Jewish youths; youth conflict; acceptance; rejection; coexistence; discrimination; Haifa University

Chapter.  7609 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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