Pathways of reconciliation : evaluating Arab-Jewish Youth Encounter Programs in Israel in an age of political gridlock




Hecht, Clara

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Efforts working toward a “peace process” in the Arab-Israeli conflict have become increasingly fruitless, continually resulting in political gridlock and doing little to heal a deeply conflicted and divided society. This report demonstrates the necessity of promoting a process of reconciliation rather than focusing on a top-down political resolution in order to address social and psychological barriers to coexistence that exist among Jews and Arabs living in Israel.

The first half of this report discusses intergroup contact theory as a means to conflict reconciliation, which acts as the theoretical foundation for encounter organizations. The second half provides an in-depth analysis of two unique present-day encounter organizations in Israel: Hand in Hand, a network of schools seeking to foster Arab-Jewish relations through shared, bilingual education, and Sadaka-Reut, an Arab-Jewish youth partnership organization working toward a binational society. Both organizations are evaluated based on the extent to which they meet five conditions associated with productive encounters. Recommendations for organizational improvement are made based on each case study’s evaluation.


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