Case 3: Living in a Mixed City in Times of Political Tension



The chapter portrays a case focusing on Jewish and Arab/Palestinian residents of a mixed city. It explores their life experiences in diverse contexts in times of political tensions. The chapter captures the findings of individual semi-structured interviews with residents, some of them owners and/or employees of real estate agencies. The research shows that the historical process that reversed the structure of power relations between Jews and Arab/Palestinians in Haifa and the persistent political tensions in the broader context of the Israeli society, all constrict the scope and quality of shared life in the city. Notwithstanding the limitations of shared life, Jewish and Arab/Palestinian residents maintain the fragile status quo in the city, despite the escalating phase of the protracted Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Future research will further explicate the modes of coping with diversity in the mixed city.


Jews-Arabs/palestinians power relations Mixed, divided, or ethnically fractured city Shared living Social distance Status quo 


  1. Bogardus, E. (1926). Social distance in the city. Proceedings and Publications of the American Sociological Society, 20, 40–46.Google Scholar
  2. CBS, Central Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Localities, population and density per Sq.Km., by metropolitan area and selected localities (Cont.). In Retrieved from
  3. Clair, J. A., Humberd, B. K., Caruso, H. M., & Morgan Roberts, L. (2012). Marginal memberships: Psychological effects of identity ambiguity on professionals who are demographically different from the majority. Organizational Psychology Review, 2(1), 71–93.
  4. Desivilya Syna, H. (2015). Social divisions, intergroup conflict and diversity—Reflections about social conflict and diversity: The case of Israeli organizations. In C. Braedel-Kühner & A. P. Müller (Eds.), Re‐thinking diversity—Multiple approaches in theory, media, communities, and managerial practice (pp. 55–83). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
  5. Desivilya Syna, H., Borochowitz, D. Y., Bouknik, S., Kalovski, G., Lavy, I., & Ore, L. (2017). Engaging diversity in academia: Manifold voices of faculty. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 36(1), 90–104.
  6. Goren, T. (2006). The fall of Arab Haifa in 1948. Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  7. Hargie, O., Dickson, D., & Nelson, S. (2003). Working together in a divided society: A study of intergroup communication in the Northern Ireland workplace. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 17(3), 285–318. Scholar
  8. Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues. (2014). Mixed cities in Israel. In Retrieved from
  9. Kallus, R., & Kolodney, Z. (2010). Politics of urban space in an ethno-nationally contested city: Negotiating (co)existence in Wadi Nisnas. Journal of Urban Design, 15(3), 403–422. Scholar
  10. Karakayali, N. (2009). Social distance and affective orientations. Sociological Forum, 24(3), 538–562.
  11. Keshet, Y. (2019). Ethnic discordance: Why do some patients prefer to be treated by physicians from other ethnic groups? Social Science and Medicine, 235, 112358. Scholar
  12. Khamaisi, R. (2008). From imposed ceasefire line to international border: The issue of the green line between Palestine and Israel. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 23(1), 85–102. Scholar
  13. Kolodney, Z., & Kallus, R. (2008). From colonial to national landscape: Producing Haifa’s cityscape. Journal of Planning Perspectives, 23(3), 323–348. Scholar
  14. Leibovitz, J. (2007). Faultline citizenship: Ethnonational politics, minority mobilisation, and governance in the Israeli “mixed cities” of Haifa and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Ethnopolitics, 6(2), 235–263.
  15. Lewicka, M. (2008). Place attachment, place identity, and place memory: Restoring the forgotten city past. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28(3), 209–231. Scholar
  16. Lewicka, M. (2011). On the varieties of people’s relationships with places: Hummon’s typology revisited. Environment and Behavior, 43(5), 676–709. Scholar
  17. Monterescu, D., & Rabinowitz, D. (Eds.). (2016). Mixed towns, trapped communities historical narratives, spatial dynamics, gender relations and cultural encounters in Palestinian-Israeli towns. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Morris, B. (2000). The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem 1947–1949. Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  19. Rabinowitz, D., & Monterescu, D. (2008). Reconfiguring the “Mixed TOWN”: Urban transformations of ethnonational relations in Palestine and Israel. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 40(2), 195–226. Scholar
  20. Raz-Rotem, M., Desivilya Syna, H., & Maoz, I. (2019). Working together in the context of protracted asymmetric conflict: Israeli Jews and Palestinians in joint medical work teams. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Advance online publication.
  21. Roccas, S., Klar, Y., & Liviatan, I. (2006). The paradox of group-based guilt: Modes of national identification, conflict vehemence, and reactions to the in-group’s moral violations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 698–711. Scholar
  22. Russell, J. (1988). Affective appraisals of environments. In J. L. Nasar (Ed.), Environmental aesthetics: Theory, research, and application. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Schaap, A. (2006). Agonism in divided societies. Philosophy Social Criticism, 32(2), 255–277. Scholar
  24. Segev, T. (1984). 1949—The first Israelis. Jerusalem: Domino Press (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  25. Siira, K. (2012). Conceptualizing managerial influence in organizational conflict—A qualitative examination. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 5(2), 182–209.
  26. Syna Desivilya, H. (1998). Jewish–Arab coexistence in Israel: The role of joint professional teams. Journal of Peace Research, 35(4), 429–452. Scholar
  27. Van Laer, K., & Janssens, M. (2010, December). Diversity & resistance: Minority professionals’ experiences and engagement with diversity discourses in Flanders. 2nd ‘Equal Is Not Enough’ Conference, Antwerp.Google Scholar
  28. Van Laer, K., & Janssens, M. (2011). Ethnic minority professionals’ experiences with subtle discrimination in the workplace. Human Relations, 64(9), 1203–1227. Scholar
  29. Yiftachel, O., & Yacobi, H. (2003). Urban ethnocracy: ethnicization and the production of space in an Israeli ‘mixed city’. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 21(6), 673–693. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Max Stern Yezreel Valley CollegeYezreel ValleyIsrael

Personalised recommendations