Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Special Issue, 1063-106 9
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1063
Hyphenated Identity Development of Arab and Jewish Teachers:
Within the Conflict Ridden Multicultural Setting of the
University of Haifa
Rachel Hertz Lazarowitz1, Abeer Farah2, Moran Yosef-Meitav3
1Faculty of Education, Uni ve rsity of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
2School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
3City without Violence, Hai f a, Israel
Received July 9th, 2012; revised August 10th, 2 0 1 2; a cc e pt e d A u g us t 2 2nd, 2012
The theory of “hyphenated identity” (HI) argues that people living in complex political-social contexts
construct HIs with various sub-identities. The University of Haifa (UH) is a meeting space and experience
for people of different nationalities and religious backgrounds. Thus they live “on the hyphen”, between
identities found in contrast vs. harmony. This study was initiated and carried out as part of a Cooperative
Participatory Action Research (CPAR). Nineteen graduate students, all teachers in a multicultural society
ridden with conflicts, were interviewed about their life stories, their family background and the develop-
ment of their identity as shaping their personal and professional lives. At the end of the interview, they
were asked to draw an Identity Drawing Map (IDM) and add an explanatory text. Finding indicated that
many women transferred their complex identity in order to create a balanced and a challenge in their life;
they became leaders in their communities and empower other women to follow them toward self actuali-
zation. The study’s contribution is in broadening the understanding of concepts of HI development, by
analyzing the similarities and differences within each ethnic/national group. Since identity development
influences significantly people’s life, we can learn about these processes. Using the creative methods of
drawing identity fabricated a deeper understanding and emotional presentation of the person.
Keywords: Identity; Teachers; Arab and Jews; University of Haifa; Israel
This research is rooted in identity theories that seek to gener-
alize the conceptual understanding of Hyphenated Identity (HI).
Studies on this subject have been conducted mainly among
youth who define themselves using a large repertoire of identi-
ties, and embrace the hyphens among their many identities
depending on the social, historical, and political context (Sirin
& Fine, 2008). Several studies investigated how culture and
global politics affect the life and identity of young people (Ap-
padurai, 2006; Katsiaficas, Fine, Hertz-Lazarowitz, Sirin, Yo-
sef-Meitav, Farah, & Zoabi, 2012; Yuval-Davis, 2001).
Israeli society is bi-national, comprising a Jewish majority
and an Arab minority. For many years, the Arab population in
Israel was referred to by the majority as “the Arabs”, as a mat-
ter of distinction from “the Jews”. Throughout the years, defini-
tions have changed and developed for and within each group.
Jews are now defined also by the collective terms: Israelis or
Israeli-Jews, and the Arab citizens of Israel are defined by the
state as Non-Jews or Israeli Arabs. However, the Arab minority
in Israel defines itself in many hyphenated identities, among
them terms of collective identity: Palestinians, Arab-Palestinians,
and Palestinian citizens of Israel (Yosef-Meitav, 2008).
Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, identity
has been a core concept that challenged Israeli society. Particu-
larly challenging has been the term Jewish, as it refers to both
religion and nationality (Herman, 1977). Young Arabs and
Jews have encountered complex political changes, adjusting to
greater diversity of ethnicity, culture and religion, while con-
tinuing to live in the context of an intractable conflict (Jary-
mowicz & Bar-Tal, 2006; Rouhana, 2004; White-Stephan,
Hertz-Lazarowitz, Zelniker, & Stephan, 2004). Over time,
identity definitions in Israel changed moving from simple or
binary to multiple and more complex identities (Ghanem, 2001;
Maoz, Steinberg, Bar-On, & Fakhereldeen, 2002). This process
has occurred in all groups, but it has been experienced to a
greater extent by Arabs and immigrants, who negotiate their
identity via a complex course of action (Gerges, 2003; Leonard,
2003). While there are numerous studies on the identity of Ar-
abs and Jews, there remains a need to explore the deeper mean-
ing youth in Israel assign to their identities (Herman, 1977;
Hertz-Lazarowitz, Rouhana, Hofman, & Beit-Hallahmi, 1978;
Rouhana, 2004; Smooha, 2011).
Because of the continuous struggle between religions (Islam,
Judaism and Christianity), young people may experience
Islamophobia or anti-Semitism, amplified by one’s own ethno-
centrism (Bar-Tal & Teichman, 2005; Rouhana, 2004). As
noted by Yuval-Davies (2001), cultural binaries and opposi-
tions proliferate the intense stereotyping and dehumanization of
youth of different religion, racial and ethnic origin, constituting
“micro cultures”, which are diverse social groups representing
different sets of cultural, ethnic, and religious scripts. Mi-
cro-cultures include secular and religious Arabs and Jews,
Muslim, Christian and Druze Arabs, Jewish immigrants from
the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and from Ethiopia, and
Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews. Individuals who belong to the
same micro-culture maintain cultural identities and values that
bind them together as a group, in addition to sharing some cul-
tural elements with all members of the Israeli macro-culture
(Smooha, 2011). Differences between the micro-cultures are
sometimes addressed as an issue of “identity” related to his-
torical developments and politics.
In addition to the multicultural make-up of Israel, education
is structured within almost totally segregated systems, regulated
by the State. Preschools, elementary schools and high schools,
for Arabs and for Jews are segregated (Al-Haj, 1998), mini-
mizing contact and interaction between these two groups. An
important exception is higher education in Israeli universities
and colleges, which are integrated (Hertz-Lazarowitz & Zelni-
ker, 2004). Campuses in general are significant and symbolic
spaces for shaping identities among youth. Hurtado (2005)
points out that “Higher education plays a central role in shap-
ing the leadership, change agents, and professionals who will
take responsibility in closing the gaps and devising creative
solutions to contemporary social problems that are both global
and local” (p. 607).
Identities are shaped within socio-cultural environments,
where domination and oppression play a role in shaping iden-
tity structures. According to Taylor (1995), campus “wars”
have become a stage for political activism, entailing issues of
legitimacy of opposing collective narratives, with violent and
sometimes non-violent conflicts. Harre’ (1979) suggested that
by confronting the authorities, students are the “actors” who
“play” various types of “social beings” in a “social drama”.
Hertz-Lazarowitz (1988, 2003) extended this conceptualization
and proposed that this “social drama”, sets in motion, the re-
definition of power, status and majority-minority relations,
which in turn leads to the reconstruction of identity.
The University of Haifa
The University of Haifa is a unique place for studying how
nationality, religion, and ethnicity contributes to students’ con-
struction of their identity, and how identity is related to stu-
dents’ perception of their experience on campus. UH is a meet-
ing place for Arab (Muslim, Christian, and Druze), and Jewish
students, religious and secular students, with different holy
books, values, practices, dress codes, as well as different cal-
endars that mark their religious and civic holidays and vaca-
tions. Within this context, identities are constantly under recon-
struction as young people live with concurrent conflict and
From our long-term research on the social and academic as-
pects of the life at UH, we learned that students are aware of the
negative aspects of life on campus, such as experiencing sur-
veillance, discrimination, injustice and racism. At the same
time, they also experience positive aspects, such as exposure to
students from other groups, integration and multicultural en-
riching experiences. Some students become more negative and
critical about the “other” national/religion groups, segregate
into their own group and perceive the university as a site of
conflict, hostility, political tension, discrimination and oppres-
sion. Other students create friendships with students from other
national/religion groups, and perceive the university as an op-
portunity to create an academic and social space of coexistence,
tolerance, and self empowerment (Zelniker, Hertz-Lazarowitz,
Peretz, Azaiza, & Sharabany, 2009; Gilat, 2006; Hertz-Laza-
rowitz, 2006; Hertz-Lazarowitz & Shapira, 2005; Mor-Som-
merfeld, Azaiza, & Hertz-Lazarowitz, 2007; Hertz-Lazarowitz,
Yosef-Meitav, Farah, & Zoabi, 2010 ).
The literature suggests that identity development and con-
struction is intense for young adults living within complex so-
cieties. In Israel, Arabs and Jews live in the context of an in-
tractable conflict and in a rich multicultural setting. Israel’s
educational system is segregated and universities are the first
integrated educational system. The UH campus is the first op-
portunity for Arab (20%) and Jewish students to experience a
fully integrated social and academic milieu. The issue of ac-
ceptance and/or de-legitimization of the other group iden-
tity—as Arab-Palestinian (for Israeli-Arabs) and Zionist-Jews
(for Israeli Jews)—creates tension and unrest, but also holds
potential for learning about closeness and coexistence.
This study was initiated and carried as part of a Cooperative
Participatory Action Research (CPAR). Its aim was to achieve a
deeper understanding of how students perceive and explain the
many facets of their identity—known in the literature as the
Hyphenated Identity—and to examine how this influences their
personal and professional life (Hertz-Lazarowitz, Zelniker, &
Azaiza, 2010).
The larger study included 93 students and student-teachers in
the Faculty of Education. They belonged to six national/reli-
gious/ethnic groups: Arabs (Muslims, Druze and Christians, all
born in Israel); and Jews (born in Israel, immigrants from
Ethiopia, and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union).
Personal interviews were conducted with 93 students. The
participants were asked to define their identity and explain each
component (For example: “I am an Arab, Muslim, student, and
Palestinian living in Israel”. Or “I am a woman, Jewish, teacher,
mother, artist). As part of the interview, they were asked to
relate to their professional life as teachers. At the end of the
interview, each student was asked to draw an “identity map”
and write a text about the meaning of her/his drawing. The
drawings-maps, the text on the map and the students’ analysis
of their drawings, form the basis for our presentation of the case
Three Case Studies
In this paper, we will present the stories of three teachers
who were MA students in the Faculty of Education’s Depart-
ment of Curriculum and Instruction during the 2006 academic
year. The women are: Rula, a Muslim woman; Nurit, a Jewish
woman born in Israel to parents who immigrated from Morocco;
and Malka, a Jewish woman born in Georgia who later immi-
grated to Israel.
Analysis of Nurit’s Life Story:
Nurit, who was 33 years old at the time, defined her identity
as Jewish-Israeli-religious-woman. She is a religious woman,
married for 10 years and the mother for 3 daughters, and works
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
as an educator of grades 5 and 6 at a state religious school. Her
parents immigrated to Israel in 1964 from Marrakesh in Mo-
rocco because of Religious-Zionist motives. They came with
two young children and with her grandparents, who lived with
the family until they passe d away.
Nurit’s practical experience in teaching started when she finis h ed
high school, during the period before her conscription to Israel
defense forces (IDF). Nurit worked as a substitute teacher in a
junior high school. There, she first met resistance from the stu-
dents and tried to adapt to dealing with discipline problems.
With time, she improved her acquaintance with the students,
learnt more about them and their interests. From her family
came the message that teaching does not pay enough to make it
a good investment, and that it requires a lot of mental strength.
During her military service, Nurit continued in the education
field and was a non-commissioned teacher in a military prison.
These early experiences were a starting point of her profes-
sional development.
The choice to study education was natural to Nurit after her
military service. She had many and varied areas of interest
including art, spirituality, academic, and therapeutic fields. She
chose to attend a university and not a lower educational institu-
tion, due to her drive for excellence. She attributes her love of
learning to her parents, who inspired her to be educated, to
develop and to realize her capabilities. In her opinion, self-
realization and empowerment were reflected in her choice to
pursue the MA degree at the university. She perceived the MA
as achieving more autonomy and control, and the degree gave
her a sense of personal empowerment. It was clear that women’s
educational leadership and introducing changes in the system
were very significant for her, and that leadership in education
was not a traditional path.
Throughout her adult life, Nurit has been in a state of dia-
logue, negotiating between the religious and the secular world.
In retrospect, she finds that her religious identity has been
transformed, but feels that she has always kept in touch with
her basic needs for solid, spiritual believes.
In conclusion, Nurit has developed two major themes in her
life: personal empowerment through study, and a dialogue be-
tween religious and secular life. Her life experiences inter-
twined with overt personal and family events as well as covert
implicit messages about socialization of life. This tension be-
tween repressed and expressed desires, were fulfilled by educa-
tion and practical experience related to significant figures. Nurit
believed that identity is constantly changing, depending on the
development of her life experience.
Personal drawing:
Nurit’s interpretation of her personal drawing:
In the center of the page, I drew a figure that represents me:
her hands are open on both sides of the body. I feel that the
wide-open hands symbolize acceptance. I am the type of person
who is outgoing toward the surroundings, with qualities of
tolerance to the difference, who loves to learn new things and
to get acquainted with new people.
The outfit represents my national and Israeli civic identity,
and it is strongly bonds with being Jewish, as it reminds a
prayer shawl (Talit).
The Torah appears open above the figures head, represents
my religious character. Yet, there is another aspect for the
choice of drawing an open Torah. It reflects my inner negotia-
tions of my religious identity. The Torah, in my view, is not a
fixed and closed thing, but rather it is open for observation,
learning and even criticism.
The thinking bubbles around the figures head represent my
way of thinking, my attitudes, my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and
all the internal processing of what goes on in my mind and
heart, which is affected by the inner and the outer conditions.
The arrows that point towards the figure represent all the
things that I achieve and get from the outer surrounding. The
arrows that come out of the figure represent what I contribute
to my surroundings.
The spiral, which wraps the figures body, symbolizes the
combination between the insights, attitude, criticism and all the
other things that I get from outside (the arrows), and everything
that is inside of me: feelings, thoughts, attitudes, etc. The whole
drawing is in a circle shape, this was not deliberate but I have
noticed that I tend to be dragged to circular shapes.
In conclusion, in my characteristic drawing, the different
components of my identity are manifested: a Jewish-Israeli-
religious-woman. Moreover, the conflict or negotiation that I
experience being religious, is also expressed in the drawing.
Analysis of Malka’s life story:
Malka defines her identity as the youngest in the family-
Georgian (from the country of Georgia)-woman-working-mother.
Malka’s personal identity is dynamic, which has evolved through-
out her life and in her opinion is continuing to evolve today.
She is a product of social events that she was exposed to during
her childhood and as a young adult. Her social characteristics
are connected to her ethnic identity as a minority group within a
collective identity group.
Malka is the youngest daughter of a Georgian family. Her
father left home when she was seven months old, and worked
as a wandering merchant in the northern USSR. Her mother
worked in a canned goods factory, and her eldest brother
worked after school hours. Another brother cooked for the family
while her eldest sister kept the house clean.
Malka’s ethnic identity is the very basic component among
the other components of her personal identity: she identifies
with the Jewish Georgian community. She kept her ethnic iden-
tity even after immigration to Israel, but was more open to ac-
cept the social and cultural customs of the modern, contempo-
rary characteristics of Israel. Malka’s feelings on gender are
related to her collective identity. These changed during her
adolescence in Israel, when she rebelled against the ethnic
norms that demand a woman to stay home and care only for her
husband and her children’s needs.
Her professional identity is related to her grandparents:
Malka says that her grandfather was one of the “Men of Wis-
dom” in the community and the town’s people used to turn to
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1065
him for advice in times of need. She feels that this was what
caused her to work in the field of guidance and educational
counseling, where she can provide social assistance to her
community. Malka believes that the educational system, its
attitudes towards the individual and the experiences a student
are exposed to, can greatly influence the insights which the
individual uses to build his character, on both the personal and
the public level. Being an immigrant made her aware of the
complexities of adjusting to a new life in Israel.
She became a source of influence and help for others. The
caring, guidance and leadership she showed gave Malka a sense
of positive self esteem and feelings of satisfaction from her
actions. She accepted positive recognition related to her per-
formance ability, and this in turn enabled her to stand confi-
dently in front of the majority group, which she once consid-
ered a discriminating group towards her minority community.
Work taught her the importance of disseminating knowledge
and achieving the influence that would allow her to aid and
bring change to her community.
The structuring and enforcement of her personal identity and
its components improved her self-evaluation and self-confi-
dence. While in her childhood Malka saw herself as a “quiet
girl”, who loved to sit aside, watching and listening to what was
going on around her, in young adulthood she stood up for her-
self, expressed her views clearly and made her own decisions.
“Always just like in my childhood, even when I accepted and
was obedient, I keep to myself the right of making a choice and
looking for freedom”.
In sum, Malka ident ifies hersel f as a human being, a woman,
a family member, and Jewish Israeli. Her gender identity is a
crucial part in her being. She fights for equal rights for herself
and other women. In her opinion women should struggle for
“professional knowledge” because it is the most impotent tool
for women to get job opportunity based on abilities. She sees
professional identity as significant part of general women iden-
tity. She describes her national identity as Israeli Jew. As a
Jewish daughter of immigrants from Georgia, she sees Judaism
as a nationality, although she is not religious or particularly
traditional. She believes that Israel has a historical right to exist
as a country.
Personal drawing:
Malka’s interpretation of her personal drawing:
In my drawing map, one can see all of my identity compo-
nents: houses in my village, and the Georgian community I
grew up in, on the riverbank with the small Islamic community
on the other side. In the drawing one can see an intersection of
roads which indicates my diversified activities. For me there is
always a chance to approach new fields and new roads and
deal with new challenges, just as in the drawing I know where I
started and came from but dont know where things might lead
The drawing of the tree expresses my deep roots regarding
the values and the historic aspects. Similar to any tree, I believe
that my deeds and efforts bring and will always bring results/
Analysis of Rula’s life story:
Rula defines her identity as woman-mother-Arab-Muslim-
traditional-Israeli-political left. She starts her life story by pre-
senting her parents’ influence on her personality and profes-
sional development; her father is a 1948 refugee. Rula presents
herself as a Muslim-Arab, since this is her primary collective
identity. Her parents are more traditional than religious, and
have eight children, of whom she is the fifth. Rula objects to the
idea of families blessed with lots of children. Her mother was
forced by her grandparents to be married at a young age, de-
spite her pledges not to be wed at such age. Her mother’s lack
of options and awareness at the time can be seen in the size of
the family and its effect on the quality of life the parents could
afford their children. Her mother’s example led Rula to under-
stand that one cannot bring a child into the world every year.
She believes that a child needs a good foundation in order to
learn how to deal with modern life, something that requires
parents to put a lot of effort into child education during their
formative years. This cannot be done properly in a family
blessed with many children.
Rula says that she has suffered from poverty, and that this
has pushed her to deal with everyday adversity within her fam-
ily. Therefore, she decided to work and earn money to fulfill
her ambitions and not feel poor. Her mother is considered a
very strong woman, with a tough and strong personality, dili-
gent yet rebellious and dominant. She is also seen as an intel-
lectual woman compared to other women in her age. Rula re-
sembles her mother in parts of her personality.
From a young age, Rula was given a lot of responsibility re-
garding the family home , and this, together with her dedica tion
to studying, helped Rula grow and develop quickly. She says
that she always felt older and wiser than girls her age. Being
seen as a rebel, and the conflict that she felt back then, points
out how much she wanted to be independent. She was some-
times beaten by her parents for refusing to do certain things.
Rula lacked a father figure in her life, and today she knows
that a father’s existence is important. She now asks her husband
to be home with the children as much as possible, despite his
work that seemingly keeps him busy all the time.
Rula today does the same jobs around her house without
feeling pressured and even enjoys cleaning and cooking. Being
more mature, she is more aware of her actions and responsibili-
ties. She thinks of them as means for achieving goals that she
has set for herself. Unlike her experience as an adolescent,
when she was forced to do tasks that she didn't like and often
At school, Rula was chosen to represent the school at a
seminar with Jewish students in Neveh Shalom. She was later
chosen by the seminar moderators to be a representative of the
co-existence seminar participants at an international conference
in Germany. Rula says that these meetings resulted in a conflict
within her concerning feelings of belonging. One of those feel-
ings was being an Israeli student who was supposed to suc-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
cessfully and loyally represent Israel in front of the rest of the
world. The second was the fact that she is a Muslim-Arab stu-
dent who lived and felt for the suffering of Arab community in
the country.
After graduation, Rula wanted to study at university. She
says that going to university was an excuse to leave home and
live an independent life, and this is how she started her journey
and experience to find herself and her position in the academic
and social world. It was highly important to her not to depend
on her parents, and as a married woman. She does not like to
depend on her husband. At university, her true independent life
started, and she became self-reliant, leaving her parents’ home
and pursuing her career. At first it looked like an easy thing to
do, but today she realizes that it wasn’t as easy as she thought it
would be. Reaching her goals required that she “let go” of some
meaningful things in her life.
Rula worked in many jobs in Jerusalem during her academic
studies. These enabled her to become familiar with different
cultures and behavioral codes. For instance, she became very
familiar with the difference between a religious Jew and a
secular one. She continued studying for teaching certificates at
David Yaleen College in Jerusalem, which is a symbol of co-
existence. At that time, the country suffered from a wave of
suicide bombing attacks. Being the only Arab student in her
class, it was difficult for her to feel for the others, who were
different from her. She constantly felt that everyone’s eyes
were only upon her. Although she used to talk to everyone, now
she ended up sitting silently, and was afraid to express her
feelings. However, dealing with that difficult time raised her
power to struggle, and succeed in proving herself.
Rula’s professional work started in a Jewish school, and she
adopted the positive aspects and learnt from them. Her identity
and culture were strengthened along with her national feeling.
Religion didn’t affect Rula much but she remained a traditional
Islamic Arab. Rula combines her job as a teacher and her life as
a woman and a mother at the same time. This is her way of
achieving empowerment and personal enrichment. Starting as a
teacher, her rapid advance made her believe in herself more and
learn more, despite the discrimination by men. She says: “So
last year I signed up for the second degree (MA) in the mathe-
matical education department at the University of Haifa, in
order to advance and become a supervisor or consultant with
the Ministry of Education, to work in different schools, learn
from them and internalize what have been learnt and then to
transmit it to teachers and students.”
Rula’s story has a happy ending, like the extension of the
classic story. It testifies to the importance of stability and inde-
pendence. The good things she has gained so far in her life are
ones that she teaches her children about. Trying to educate
them about peace, coexistence, urging them to learn about their
identity and their nation’s history so they can become good
children and affect society.
Personal drawing:
Rula’s interpretation of her personal drawing:
The agricultural building (small houses and a school) and
the mosque symbolizes the Muslim Arab village where I live. It
also describes my identity as a Muslim Arab. The school is my
work place as a teacher, the university is a symbol of academic
studies, the figure of the woman (me) leaving from the village
to the university in the form of flight supposedly represents
the difference between the village and the university in search
of a career, and the boy in the picture is my son, symbolizing
my desire for him to go my way.
I drew myself in a big figure because I consider myself large
relative to my village and I was ready to deal with resistance
from the village. I see the Arab Muslim woman as a unique
personality from both sides, in terms of biological and personal
talents, who can play a role at the level equal to that of men.
Learning is a recipe for a safer future. Professionalism is the
realization of the self, creating a high social and community
status, designing the cultural character in a developed way to
enable me to face challenges and difficulties of life.
Therefore, the Arab woman should aspire to academic studies
and to be ready to raise educated and modern children—it is the
cornerstone of an intellectual society.
These three women represent three minorities in Israel; they
share a strong desire for integration into the Israeli Jewish soci-
ety. Nurit, Malka and Rula chose to work in the educational
field. They cross borders of nationality (Rula) religion (Nurit)
and ethnicity (Malka). By crossing these borders, they express
the high value and respect they have for their hyphenated iden-
tity (HI), and keep strong ties to their past, present and future
histories and social political reality. It takes a lot of courage to
keep these hyphenated identities and live about the live as they
told us about.
In our study, we found many women who transformed their
complex identities in order to create a balanced and a challeng-
ing life. They become leaders in their communities and em-
power other women to follow them. They did so by giving
prominence to personal identity terms more than collective
Usually the personal terms express the identity core while the
collective terms express the hyphenated identity. The women
include many dimensions in their hyphenated identity, such as:
personal, affective, professional and family, together with col-
lective identities, such as nationalism, political, and religious
identities. In the overall study we found that indeed women’s
identity was richer and more elaborated than men identity
Arab women are approaching higher education in growing
numbers in Israel, and Arab women are the group that are cur-
rently making the revolution toward the degrees of MA and
PhD (Shapira, Arar, & Azaiza, 2010, 2011).
All groups of students express tensions that relate to situa-
tions that threaten their collective identities. Their physical
existence is a major source of threat. The many wars, bloodshed,
terror and occupation have been hard on all the groups. It ap-
pears that both national groups experience two types of threat in
similar situations but with an opposite content. The Arab is
threatened by the image of “a terrorist”, while the Jew is
threatened by the stereotype of “an occupier”. The Arab is dis-
criminated against inside Israel by Jews—who feel discrimi-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1067
nated by non-Jews out of Israel.
In this reality, the University of Haifa can be a place for dia-
logue and conflict at the very same time. Member of different
groups experience academic/social/political life as students, wh ic h
is a reflection of their life in general. They share learning in a
significant developmental stage, as they enter adulthood. Arabs
talked about attending UH as an empowering experience, even
if they see it is a discriminating institution to a degree. The
contact with the Jewish students and the University gives salie nc e
to their collective identities, which are openly expressed and
discussed on campus. This includes issues and struggles around
their legitimacy as a minority group.
The Jews, who are the majority on campus, are usually older
than the Arabs, because they enter the university after they
serve in the army. They are engaged in a different world of
daily contact and interaction with Arabs. The Jews were more
isolated from this type of relations with Arabs, and they have to
redefine their experience and perceptions about Arabs.
It seems that even during this difficult period in Arab-Jewish
relations, both groups are constructing their identity by acting
in this “social drama” of the campus (Harre, 1979). Discussion,
harmony and conflict, protests, battles for legitimization and
mutual recognition of the other groups, are daily practices on
campus. The students experience the partial and not complete
democracy on campus and in the state of Israel.
It suggests that negative perception is interwoven alongside
positive perception. It seems that there are no defining borders
between the dialogue and the conflict and between the accep-
tance and the rejection of the other. Indeed the two processes
occurs simultaneously.
The study’s contribution is mainly in broadening the subjec-
tive understanding of HI development for each ethnic or na-
tional group on campus. Using the creative methods of drawing
identity resulted in a deeper understanding of this matter. At
this stage of their life, usually in their mid to late twenties, the
students are engaged with the dynamics of shaping their iden-
tity and gaining maturity as each group learns from the other
From these three cases study, we can be aware of general
processes that characterize Israeli society. The study provides
insights and can help the university authorities and student
organizations become more knowledgeable about identity de-
velopment and encourage dialogue, equality and justice be-
tween the diverse groups of Jewish and Arab students on cam-
Al-Haj, M. (1998). Education among the Arabs in Israel: Control and
Change. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.
Appadurai, A. (2006). Fear of small numbers. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke
University Press.
Arar, K. H., Shapira, T., Azaiza, F., & Hertz-Lazarowitz R. (2013).
Arab women in management and leadership: Stories from Israel.
New York: Palgrave press.
Bar-Tal, D., & Teichm an, Y. ( 2005). Stereotypes and prejudice in conflict:
Representations of Arabs in Israeli Jewish society. New York: Cam-
bridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511499814
Gerges, F. A. (2003). Islam and Muslims in the mind of America. An-
nals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 588,
73-89. doi:10.1177/0002716203588001006
Ghanem, A. (2001). The Palestinian-Arab minority in Israel 1948-2001:
A political study. Albany, NY: Suny Press.
Gilat, A. (2006). Women experience of empowerment through university
studies: The case of Jewish and Muslim religious and non-religious
women. Ph.D. Dissertation, Haifa: University of Haifa.
Harre’, R. (1979). Social being. L o ndon: Blackwell Publication.
Herman, S. N. (1977). Jewish identity: A social psychological perspec-
tive. Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. (1988). Conflict on campus: A social drama per-
spective. In J. E. Hofman (Ed.), Arab Jewish relations in Israel (pp.
271-301). Bristol: Wyndham Hall Press.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. (2003). Arab and Jewish youth in Israel: Voicing
national injustice on Campus. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 51-66.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. (2006). Acceptance and rejection at Haifa Uni-
versity: The source of conflict between Arab and Jews. In C. Daiute,
Z. Beykont, C. Higson-Smith, & L. Nucci (Eds.), International per-
spectives on youth conflict and development (pp. 107-123). New
York: Oxford University Press.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., Rouhana, N., Hofman, J. E., & Beit-Hallahmi, B.
(1978). Curricular influence on identity among Jewish and Arab
school students in Israel. Studies in Education, 19, 153-169.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., & Shapira, T. (2005). Muslim women life stories:
Building leadership. Anthr opology & Educat ion Qua rterly, 36, 161-185.
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., & Shapira, A. (2005). Opening windows on Arab
and Jewish children’s strategies as writers. Language, Culture, and
Curriculum, 18, 72-90. doi:10.1080/07908310508668734
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., Yosef-Meitav, M., Farah, A., & Zoabi, N. (2010).
Draw your identity: Hyphenated identity maps and interviews of Ar-
abs and Jewish youth at Haifa University. Studies in Education, 3,
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., & Zelniker, T. (2004). Can peace education be
enhanced via participatory research, three case studies at Haifa Uni-
versity 2001-20 0 3. Peace Research, 36, 119-135.
Hertz-Lzarowitz, R., Zelniker, T., & Azaiza, F. (2010). The social
drama model as a theoretical framework for cooperative participatory
action research (CPAR) at a multicultural campus. In F. Gobbo (Ed.),
Cooperative learning in multicultural societies: Critical reflection
(pp. 117-133). Turi n: Routledge Taylor & Francis
Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., Zelniker, T., & Azaiza, F. (2010). Theoretical
framework for cooperative participatory action research (CPAR) in a
multicultural campus: The social drama model. Journal of Intercul-
tural Education, 21, 269-279.
Hurtado, S. (2005). The next generation of diversity and intergroup
relations. Journal of Social Issues, 61, 595-611.
Jarymowicz, M., & Bar-Tal, D. (2006). The dominance of fear over
hope in the life of individuals and collectives. European Journal of
Social Psychology, 36, 367-392. doi:10.1002/ejsp.302
Katsiaficas, D., Fine, M., Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., Sirin, R. S., Yo-
sef-Meitav, M., Farah, A., & Zoabi, N. (2012). Researching hyphen-
ated identities in politically contentious contexts: Muslim and Arab
youth growing up in the United States and Israel. In D. Nagata, L.
Kohn-Wood, & L. Suzuki (Eds.), Qualitative strategies for eth-
nocultural research (pp. 145-173). Washington, DC: American Psy-
chological Association. doi:10.1037/13742-007
Leonard, H. S. (2003). Leadership development for the postindustrial,
postmodern information age. Consulting Psychology Journal: Prac-
tice and Research, 55, 3-14. doi:10.1037/1061-4087.55.1.3
Maoz, I., Steinberg, S., Bar-On, D., & Fakhereldeen, M. (2002). The
dialogue between the self and the other: A process analysis of Pales-
tinian Jewish encounters in Israel. Human Relations, 55, 931-962.
Mor-Sommerfeld, A., Azaiza, F., & Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. (2007). Into
the future: Towards bilingual education in Israel. Education, Citi-
zenship and Social Justice, 2, 5-22. doi:10.1177/1746197907072123
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1069
Rouhana, N. N. (2004). Group identity and power asymmetry in recon-
ciliation processes: The Israeli-Palestinian case. Peace and Conflict:
Journal of Peace Psychology, 10, 33-52.
Shapira, T., Arar, K., & Azaiza, F. (2010). Arab women principals’
empowerment and leadership in Israel. Journal of Educational Ad-
ministration, 48, 704-715.
Shapira, T., Arar, K., & Azaiza, F. (2011). They didn’t consider me and
no-one even took me into Account: Women school principals in the
Arab education system in Israel. Educational Management Admini-
stration & Leadership, 39, 25- 43. doi:10.1177/1741143210383901
Sirin, S. R., & Fine, M. (2008). Muslim American youth: Under-
standing hyphenated identities through multiple methods. New York:
New York University Press.
Smooha, S. (2011). Index of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel. Haifa: The
Jewish-Arab Center.
White-Stephan, C., Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., Zelniker, T., & Stephan, W.
G. (2004). Introduction to improving Arab Jewish relationship in Is-
rael: Theory and practice in coexistence education programs. Journal
of Social Issues, 60, 237-252. doi:10.1111/j.0022-4537.2004.00109.x
Yosef-Meitav, M. (2008). The constru ction of multiple identi ties in Ha i fa
University: Do they create space for dialogue or conflict? M.A. The-
sis, Haifa, University of Haifa.
Yuval-Davis, N. (2001). The binary war. URL (last checked June 12
Zelniker, T., Hertz -Lazarowitz, R. , P eretz, H., Az aiza, F., & Sh arab any,
R. (2009). Arab and Jewish students participatory action research at
the University of Haifa: A model for peace education. In C.
McGlynn, M. Zembylas, Z. Bekerman, & T. Gallagher (Eds.), Peace
education in conflict and post-conflict societies: Comparative per-
spectives (pp. 199-214). New York: Palgra ve Macmillan.