Article Title

Encounters in the Looking-glass of Time: Longitudinal Contribution of a Life Story Workshop to the Dialogue between Jewish and Arab Young adults in Israel


The field of encounter groups between Jews and Arabs in Israel is commonly discussed in academia; nevertheless, despite the multitude of studies that deal with encounter groups, longitudinal research in this area is very limited in the literature. The purpose of this article is to pinpoint, the contributions of an encounter group that was researched over a long period of time. The article describes the results of a four year longitudinal, qualitative study of a group of Jewish and Arab university students. Initially all of the students took part in a year-long encounter group workshop that was based on the “life story model”. We recognized that our students went through a process during the seminar and the next few years that followed it. Based on the analyses of interviews with the participants we have created a four stage model that we would like to suggest as a means for examining participants processes in the looking glass of time. We discuss the contributions as well as problematic aspects of the "life story” method and suggest recommendations and implication for future experience with this method in different contexts and groups.

Author Bio(s)

Tal Litvak Hirsch received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel. Her research foci are: a. the perception of "others" as part of collective Israeli identity. b. the long-term psycho-social impact of the Holocaust on survivors and their families c. Evaluation research. In 2003-4 she was a research fellow at the Truman institute of peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2005 she was a Fulbright scholar at Earlham College. Currently, she is a researcher and lecturer at the department of behavioral science at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Apart of her academic work she is also a clinical psychologist working mainly with children and adolescents. She can be contacted at hirscht@zahav.net.il.

Dan Bar-On is a Professor of Psychology at the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben-Gurion University. He is also the co-director of PRIME (Peace Research Institute in the Middle East) near Beit Jala in the West Bank. He is the author of several books, among others - Legacy of Silence: Encounters with Children of the Third Reich (Harvard University Press, 1989), Fear and Hope: Three Generations of Holocaust Survivors' Families (Harvard University Press, 1998) and The Indescribable and the Undiscussable (Central European University Press, 1999). In 1996 he was awarded the David Lopatie Chair for Post-Holocaust Psychological Studies. In 2001 he received the Bundesverdienst Kreutz First Class, from German President Dr. Johannes Rau. In 2003 he received the Eric Maria Remarque Peace Prize in Osnabruck, Germany. In 2005 they received the Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East and the EAEA 3rd Out-of-Europe Grundtvig Award on Active citizenship in a democratic society. He can be contacted at danbaron@exchange.bgu.ac.il.


Jews and Arabs in Israel, life story model, qualitative study, year-long encounter group workshop

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