Engaged Academia in a Conflict Zone? Palestinian and Jewish Students in Israel

  • Daphna GolanEmail author
  • Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian


Throughout their years in the primary and secondary education systems in Israel, Palestinians and Jews do not meet, not because they chose to refrain from meeting, but rather because the societal and political structure around them insisted on keeping them “safe”, in the dark, and in two separate education systems. For most of them, their first encounter as young adults takes place on the college campus. Nevertheless, most academic settings in Israel rarely relate to nor leverage this encounter. Against a backdrop of violent conflict, distrust, and prejudice, relations between Palestinians and Jews in Israel continue to deteriorate, and the university encounter becomes meaningless and fleeting. Academic institutions in Israel, we believe, cannot be divorced from the Israeli political apparatus and its connectedness and contributions to the “Jewishness” of the state, and the ongoing conflict. The Hebrew University was established and is supported by Jewish and Zionist actors. The website of the Hebrew University states the following:This chapter is based on an action-oriented study (Lewin, 1946), designed and carried out in tandem with faculty members of 13 community-engaged courses in 11 institutions of higher learning in Israel (see Appendix), all part of the Campus–Community Partnership for Social Change (hereafter, the Partnership). The aim of this study is to analyze how academic community-engaged courses affect students, and how and whether they can promote education toward justice (let alone transformative justice) in the context of a continued conflict. Our intention was not only to generate theoretical understandings of how shared community engagement can improve intergroup discussions in conflict-torn societies, but also to identify the main difficulties of transformative learning in a conflict zone.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Institute of Criminology- Faculty of Law School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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