Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology

Coexistence and Sport: The Israeli Case: The Effect of Mifalot Soccer Programs on the Attitudes of Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli Youth towards One Another

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology

Coexistence and Sport: The Israeli Case: The Effect of Mifalot Soccer Programs on the Attitudes of Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli Youth towards One Another

Article excerpt

Abstract

Utilizing sports and other recreational activities to foster peaceful relations and coexistence is an idea that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly in Israel. The aim of the current research is to fill a gap in the research literature on the subject of coexistence programming. The Mifalot organization conducts a program called "Get to Know Your Neighbor" in which Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli youth play soccer together. The program, based mainly on the participants' love for football, is a series of activities and lessons designed to prepare children to meet and interact with youth from neighboring communities. The study examines the effects of participation in this program on the attitudes of the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israelis toward each other.

Keywords

Coexistence, Israel, soccer, peace

Introduction

Utilizing sports and other recreational activities to foster peaceful relations and coexistence is an idea that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly in Israel. There are a variety of recreational coexistence programs presently being conducted in Israel, ranging from soccer, basketball, martial arts, ultimate Frisbee, and cricket, to dancing, music, arts, and cooking.

However, the effectiveness of these programs in promoting coexistence is being questioned. A conference was held in Jaffa (Israel) on July 11, 2012 titled "Jews and Arabs kick around the same ball - and what's next?" The conference examined and questioned the effectiveness of recreation programs in fostering coexistence. As discussed at this conference, although there are many programs taking place, there has been relatively little research conducted on examining the effects of individual programs on the attitudes of the program participants.

This study sought to fill a gap in the research literature on the subject of coexistence programming. The "Mifalot" organization conducts a program called "Get to Know Your Neighbor", in which Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli youth play soccer together. The program, based mainly on the participants' love for football, is a series of activities and lessons designed to prepare children to meet and interact with kids from neighboring communities. This study examined the effects of participation in this program on the attitudes of the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israelis toward one another.

Literature review

The theoretical basis of this study is primarily from previous research on attitudes of Israeli Arab and Jewish teenagers and young adults toward each other. According to Gal (1996), a nationwide study of over 3300 Israeli teenagers conducted by the Carmel Institute in 1994 found that among Arab teenagers, 24% hate all or most Jews, but 62% believe that all or most Jews hate Arabs. Among Jewish teenagers, 37% hate all or most Arabs, but 59% believe that all or most Arabs hate them. There were significant differences in attitudes among the various religious and secular groups participating in this study. For example, while only 9% of Jews from secular kibbutzim expressed hatred toward Arabs, 61% of Jews in religious vocational schools expressed hatred toward Arabs. According to Gal (1996), attitudes have continuously changed since the 1970's: In 1974, 32% of Jews surveyed expressed hatred toward Arabs; a 1988 study indicated that 40% hated Arabs; in 1994, the figure was 37%.

Other research also points to negative attitudes among Israeli Arabs and Jews toward each other. According to Zureik and Moughrabi (1987), approximately 43% of Israeli Jews have a negative view of Israeli Arabs and only 7% have a positive view; approximately 85% feel that Israeli Jews place value upon human life but that only 41% of Israeli Arabs do. According to Smooha (1989), approximately 75% of Israeli Arabs surveyed in one study believe that Israeli Jews do not value self-respect and family honor, and approximately 70% believe that they are exploitative and racist. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.