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General Articles
Another "Surprising" Study Conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut (Columbia University) and Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv U)


To learn more about the political views of Nes Zehngut please click here :http://books.google.com/books?id=XHEg_FXGCBMC&dq=Beyond+bullets+and+bombs+:+grassroots+peacebuilding+between+Israelis+and+Palestinians&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=YCIQgvVZNF&sig=7QZ5gPmJEYDEQNCUuh_2zPSew84&hl=en&ei=n4cESpmRFJW1sgbQwvDFCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#PPA3,M1

 

Study Surprisingly Finds 47% of Israeli-Jews Believe that the 1948 Palestinian Refugees were Expelled by Israel

Published: 4/6/2009

 

First Study of its Kind Finds the Collective Memory of Israeli-Jews is Critical of Israel's Role in the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict  

NEW YORK, NY April 6, 2009 – A new public opinion survey finds surprising attitudes on the part of Israeli Jews regarding Israel’s ongoing conflict with Arabs and Palestinians. With regard to the main historical event of the conflict -- the 1948 Palestinian exodus -- 39% of Israeli Jews surveyed believe expulsion by Israel was one of the factors leading to that exodus, in addition to Palestinian fear and the call of Arabs/Palestinian leaders to leave. An additional 8% believe the refugees were primarily expelled, adding up for a total of 47% that believe expulsion took place. In contrast, only 41% accept the Zionist narrative that rejects even partial expulsion and claims Palestinians left due to their own accord.

In addition, 46% believe that Israel and the Arab/Palestinian people have been equally responsible for the outbreak and continuation of the conflict. In contrast, only 43% hold the Zionist narrative primarily blaming the Arab/Palestinian people, and 4% blame the Jews.

“Collective memory” is a group’s viewpoint of history. In general, the study found Israeli Jews’ collective memory to be significantly critical of Israel’s role in the conflict. They have somewhat rejected the “Zionist narrative” of the conflict which holds the Arabs/Palestinians primarily responsible for the conflict.

Preliminary results from the study were released in January and have been reported in the media in five languages in countries around the world. The authors have continued to analyze the data and post new findings (view findings at http://www.tc.edu/news/article.htm?id=6812).

Rafi Nets-Zehngut, an Israeli, a Fellow at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Daniel Bar-Tal, a faculty member at the School of Education at Tel Aviv University, conducted the study in summer 2008.  

“Typically, societies involved in intractable conflicts like the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict adopt a collective memory of the conflict that is biased to a large degree and self-serving, as is part of the Zionist narrative,” says Nets-Zehngut. “If such study had been conducted between the 1950s and the 1970s, surely a much higher percentage of Israeli Jews would have held the Zionist narrative. The fact that we found this memory of the conflict to be somewhat critical (even though the conflict is still going on) is encouraging. It suggests that the Israeli-Jewish society has changed to become more critical, open and self-reflective, allowing it to adopt less biased narratives.”

However, Daniel Bar-Tal believes that the Israeli-Jewish society still has a significant way to go in changing its collective memory to become less biased and self serving. Many Israeli Jews still believe a Zionist narrative of many issues in the history of the conflict – a simplistic memory of the conflict which portrays Israelin a positive light and the Arabs/Palestinians in a negative one. “Holding such a Zionist narrative serves as an obstacle to peace since it promotes negative emotions, mistrust, de-legitimization and negative stereotypes of Arabs and Palestinians,” Bar-Tal said. 

For example, regarding a more recent event – the failure of the Summer 2000 peace negotiations between then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat – Israeli Jews took a harder line. Fifty six percent believe that Arafat declined a very generous peace offer by Barak because he did not want peace with Israel, versus only 25% who believe both parties were responsible for the failure and 3% who believed that Barak was responsible. Likewise, 60% replied that in the 1947 United Nations' partition plan of the Land of Israel/Palestine the Palestinians received an equal or larger part of the territory, relative to their percentage of its population. However, the facts are that the partition plan, which was rejected by the Palestinians, offered them (about 2/3 of the total population then) a smaller part of the territory (only 44%).

The study found older people, and the more religious ones to be more likely to believe the Zionist narrative. Further more, those supporting the Zionist narrative were significantly less likely to support peace agreements with the Palestinians and Syria – pointing to the important role of collective memory in conflicts. In addition, a strong connection was found between the collective memory of "past Jewish persecution" (regarding anti-Semitism and the Holocaust) and the diagnosed collective memory of the conflict. People holding a significant memory of Jewish persecution are much more likely to adopt a Zionist narrative. This memory of persecution is discussed as one of the determinants of Israel's conduct along the conflict – and this study provides support for its impact.

The study is funded by a grant awarded by the IRPA (International Peace Research Association) Foundation to Nets-Zehngut, who came up with the idea to research this topic. It was conducted among a representative sample of 500 Israeli Jews through Dialog, a well-established Israeli center for public opinion research. The questions in the survey examined the collective memory regarding 25 major issues associated with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, ranging from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21at centaury. The aim is to publish the findings in a book. This study is related to further research by Nets-Zehngut, which examined the way seven primary Israeli social and state institutions (e.g., the media and the Israeli army) presented the causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus during the years of 1949-2004. These institutions had major impact on the Israeli-Jewish collective memory discussed above.

Teachers College is the largest graduate school of education in the nation. Teachers College is affiliated with Columbia University, but it is legally and financially independent. The editors of U.S. News and World Report have perennially ranked Teachers College among the nation’s leading graduate schools of education.

The College’s ICCCR (International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution) is committed to developing knowledge and practice to promote constructive conflict resolution, effective cooperation, and social justice.

For more information, please visit the college’s Web site at www.tc.columbia.edu. Learn about ICCCR at www.tc.columbia.edu/icccr.

The Israeli-Jewish Collective Memory of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict [Data]

Published: 4/6/2009

 

Study Conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut (Teachers College, Columbia University) and Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv University), Summer 2008

For additional information about the study, click here,or contact Rafi Nets-Zehngut at rafi.nets@gmail.com
 
 

1. Which of the following sentences best describes your opinion with regard to the distribution of responsibility between the Jews and Arabs (including Palestinians) for the outbreak and continuation of the Israeli-Arab conflict?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

The Arabs (including the Palestinians) are primarily responsible for the outbreak of the conflict and its continuation

43.4

2

The Arabs and the Jews are more or less equally responsible

46

3

The Jews are primarily responsible

4.2

4

Do not know

6.4

 

Total

100

 

2. To the best of your knowledge, what was the degree of sincerity of Israeli efforts versus those of the Arabs (including the Palestinians) to achieve peace through out the conflict?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Israel was very sincere but the Arabs were not sincere

27

2

Israel was somewhat sincere and the Arabs not

30.4

3

Both parties were sincere in about an equal degree

28.2

4

The Arabs were somewhat sincere and Israel not

1.6

5

The Arabs were very sincere and Israel not

0.4

6

Do not know

12.4

 

Total

100

 

3. To the best of your knowledge, what was the quality of the relations between the Jews and Palestinians in Eretz-Israel (the land of Israel) in the centuries that preceded the beginning of the Zionist immigration to Eretz-Israel in the end of the 19th century?

Relations were:

No.

Possible answers

 

% choosing this answer

1

Very bad

6.6

2

Somewhat bad

16.8

3

Medium

31.2

4

Somewhat good

29.4

5

Very good

3.8

6

Do not know

12.2

 

Total

100

 

4. To the best of your knowledge, what portion of the entire population of Eretz-Israel consisted of Palestinians before the Jewish pioneers began arriving at the end of the 19th century?

The Palestinians were:

No.

Possible Answers

% choosing this answer

1

The exclusive inhabitants of the land

0.6

2

The vast majority

22.8

3

The majority

36.6

4

Minority

15.8

5

An insignificant minority

6.0

6

Do not know

18.2

 

Total

100

 

5. To the best of your knowledge, who is responsible for the violence between the Jews and Palestinians that occurred in Eretz-Israel from the end of the 19th century until the eruption of the War of Independence?

The source of responsibility for the violence is:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Only the Palestinians

20.6

2

Mostly the Palestinians

37.8

3

Quite equally both parties

23.8

4

Mostly the Jews

3.6

5

Only the Jews

1.0

6

Do not know

13.2

 

Total

100

 

6. According to the United Nations' division resolution of -'47, what portion of Eretz-Israel were the Palestinians supposed to get, relative to their representation in the population?

The Palestinians got according to the resolution:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

A part of the land much bigger than their representation in the population

10

2

A part of the land bigger than their representation

19.2

3

A part of the land equal to their representation

20.4

4

A part of the land smaller than their representation

19

5

A part of the land much smaller than their representation

4.8

6

Do not know

26.6

 

Total

100

 

7. What portion of the Palestinians wanted to initiate a war against the Jews following the UN resolution of -'47 for the establishment of Israel?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

The vast majority of the Palestinians wanted to initiate a war

26.8

2

The majority

33.6

3

About half

9.8

4

A minority

10.6

5

An insignificant minority

1.4

6

Do not know

17.8

 

Total

100

 

8. What were the reasons for the departure of Palestinian refugees during the War of Independence?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

The refugees left due to fear and calls of leaders to leave

40.8

2

The refugees left due to fear, calls of leaders and expulsion by the Jews

39.2

3

The refugees were expelled by the Jews

8

4

Do not know

12

 

Total

100

 

9. What portion of the Israeli-Arabs (excluding those in East Jerusalem) have planned or taken part in terrorist activities against Israel since the War of Independence until today?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Almost all Israeli-Arabs acted like this

4.8

2

Most of them acted like this

17

3

About half of them

15.6

4

A minority of them

35.8

5

An insignificant minority of them

17

6

Do not know

9.8

 

Total

100

 

10. What were the main reasons for the entry into Israel of Arab/Palestinian infiltrators between the end of the War of Independence and the beginning of the Sinai War in -'56?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

All of them entered with the intent to commit terrorist acts (such as murder and sabotage)

12.4

2

Most of them entered with the intent to commit terrorist acts

20.2

3

About half entered with the intent to commit terrorist acts, while half entered with economic-social aims (such as cultivation of fields and visiting relatives)

32.2

4

Most entered with economic-social aims

12.2

5

All entered with economic-social aims

2

6

Do not know

21

 

Total

100

 

11. Why did Israel initiate the -'56 Sinai War?

Israel attacked:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Entirely because it had no other alternatives in response to aggressive actions by the Arabs

28.6

2

Mostly because it had no other alternatives

30

3

Partly because it had no other alternatives and partly because it sought to conquer and control Egyptian territories

14.2

4

Mostly because it sought to conquer and control Egyptian territories

4.6

5

Entirely because it sought to conquer and control territories

1.6

6

Do not know

21

 

Total

100

 

12. What was Israel's motivation in initiating the -'67 Six Day War?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Solely as a defense measure in response to war threats by Arab countries

37.2

2

Mostly as a defense measure in response to war threats

34.6

3

Partly as a defense measure and partly because it sought to conquer and control Arab territories

12.8

4

Mostly because it sought to conquer and control Egyptian territories

1.6

5

Solely because it sought to conquer and control territories

2

6

Do not know

11.8

 

Total

100

 

13. Prior to the -'73 Yom Kippur War:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

There were no peace initiatives between Israel and the Arabs

17.8

2

There were peace initiatives between Israel and the Arabs, but they failed due to the Arabs

20.2

3

There were peace initiatives that failed due to both parties

26.6

4

There were peace initiatives that failed due to the Israelis

5.2

5

Do not know

30.2

 

Total

100

 

14.What happened in the Yom Kippur War with regard to the balance of power between Israel and the Arabs?

It became clear that Israel is:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Much stronger than the Arabs and will not incur danger in fighting them

17

2

Stronger than the Arabs

43.2

3

Equal in its power to the Arabs

5.6

4

Not as strong as the Arabs and might incur danger in fighting them

19.2

5

Weaker than the Arabs

6

6

Do not know

9

 

Total

100

 

15. What were Israel's aims in the '82 Lebanon War?

Israel's aims were:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Only to prevent terror attacks against it from Lebanon

20.4

2

Mainly to prevent terror attacks from Lebanon

26.4

3

Partly to prevent terror attacks; and partly to build a new regional order in Lebanon

32

4

Mainly to build a new regional order in Lebanon

6

5

Only to build a new regional order in Lebanon

2

6

Do not know

13.2

 

Total

100

 

16. What were the reasons for establishing settlements in the West Bank and Gaza?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

For security purposes only, in order to prevent attacks against Israel from these territories

6.6

2

Mainly for security purposes

9.6

3

Quite equally for security purposes and ideological reasons

44

4

Mainly due to ideological reasons

23.2

5

Only due to ideological reasons

10.4

6

Do not know

6.2

 

Total

100

 

17. What have been the main reasons for violence against Israel by the Palestinian terrorist organizations?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Only the inherently violent nature of the Palestinians

23.8

2

Primarily because of their violent nature

23.8

3

Because of their violent nature of and Israel's behavior during the conflict

31.6

4

Primarily because of Israel's behavior

6.2

5

Entirely because of Israel's behavior

2.6

6

Do not know

12

 

Total

100

 

18. What were the primary reasons for eruption of the '87 Intifada?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Mainly natural hatred towards Israel

23.6

2

Somewhat due to hatred

17.2

3

More or less equally due to hatred and other reasons (such as unwillingness to be controlled and harsh treatment by Israel)

32

4

Somewhat due to other reasons

6.6

5

Mainly due to other reasons

6.4

6

Do not know

14.2

 

Total

100

 

19. To what extent did the IDF exhibit moral conduct (refraining from illegal violent activities) during the -'87 Intifada? Grade it on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 represents zero moral conduct and 7 represents absolute moral conduct.

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Zero moral conduct

1.4

2

A little moral conduct

2.6

3

More than a little moral conduct

6.6

4

Medium moral conduct

14.2

5

Significant moral conduct

17.8

6

Almost absolute moral conduct

13.4

7

Absolute moral conduct

23.4

8

Do not know

20.6

 

Total

100

 

20. Who is responsible for the failure of the peace process based on the Oslo agreements of the -'90s?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

The Palestinians are almost entirely responsible for the failure

25.6

2

The Palestinians are primarily responsible

25

3

Both parties are more or less equally responsible

28.4

4

Israel is primarily responsible

3.2

5

Israel almost entirely

2.8

6

Do not know

15

 

Total

100

 

21. To what extent was the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt implemented by the Egyptian government?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Minimally

20

2

More than minimally

11.2

3

Medium

33.2

4

More than medium

12.6

5

Fully

8.6

6

Do not know

14.4

 

Total

100

 

22.What were the reasons for the failure of the negotiations between Barak and Arafat in Summer 2000?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Barak offered Arafat a very generous peace agreement but Arafat declined mainly because he did not want peace

55.6

2

Both parties are responsible for the failure since, for example, Barak's offer was insufficiently generous, and Arafat was unwilling to make compromises

25.4

3

Arafat did want peace but Barak was not generous enough in meeting the needs of the Palestinians

3

4

Do not know

16

 

Total

100

 

23. The 2000 Intifada erupted due:

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

 

Solely because of an a priori plan by Arafat to engage in a violent clash with Israel

22.8

2

Mainly because of an a priori plan by Arafat

23

3

Partly because of an a prioi plan by Arafat and partly a
Spontaneous popular uprising

25.8

4

Mainly to a spontaneous popular uprising

9.2

5

Solely to a spontaneous popular uprising

6

6

Do not know

13.2

 

Total

100

 

24. What was the extent of moral conduct during fighting ("purity of arms") by the Jews throughout the conflict?

No.

Possible answers

% choosing this answer

1

Very high

23

2

High

36.8

3

Medium

28.2

4

Low

4

5

Very low

1.4

6

Do not know

6.6

 

Total

100

 

 

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    1.  EDUCATION, EDUCATION
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