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Federalism, Multiculturalism, and Israeli-Palestinian Relations: Qualitive and Quantitative Data
The point of the departure of this paper is the conceptual background of federalism which has been amalgamated with multicultural competency as the anchor of an innovative on-going M.A./graduate course entitled “New Approaches to Conflict Resolution in Israeli Society” run since 2002 as part of the Graduate Program in Conflict Management at Bar-Ilan University in cooperation with the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The graduate course has also included an annual special intercultural/interreligious Seminar in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Akko in which the students have engaged leadership on the various levels of the city, from local mediators, municipal officials and religious leaders who have been cooperating in a manner representative of federalist thinking. This implies social partnership even in the absence of agreement on common definitions among various cultural subgroups along with the idea of diversity within unity.
The paper will address the following interrelated elements: (1) The idea of “thinking federally” as a means of managing intergroup relations in Israeli society, along with generating intercultural competency in order to promote “responsible empathy” which have formed the goals of the graduate course referred to above; (2) presentation of qualitative and quantitative data evaluating this impact of the course; and (3) a spinoff element of the course—namely presentation/application of a federalist approach to Israeli-Palestinian relations.