Cultural identity and intervention strategies of Arab minority social workers in Israel

Khawla Zoabi*, Riki Savaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper examines the associations between the cultural identityof Arab social workers in Israel and their intervention preferences. The Arab cultural identity was assessed by means of four scales measuring attributes that are central to Arab culture: religiosity, collectivism, belief in gender hierarchy and attitudes towards sexual behaviour. The choice of intervention strategies was ascertained using hypothetical vignettes of cases that social workers might encounter. The findings are based on the responses of 491 Arab social workers employed in the municipal social services of the Arab communities who complete daself-administer ed question naire.The finding spoint both to the predominance of the professional strategies the Arab social workers learned in their social work training and, at the same time, indicate the social workers' readiness to avail themselves of strategies anchoredin their own culture and society, whether separately or in combination with professional ones. The findings suggest that Arab social workersin Israel adopt cultural strategies that are appropriate to the circumstances in which they live and in situations in which Western interventions would have been insufficient, irrelevant or harmful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-408
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Arab culture
  • Collective society
  • Cultural intervention
  • Religion
  • Social workers


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