Cultural intervention strategies employed by arab social workers in Israel: Identification and conceptualisation

Khawla Zoabi, Rivka Savaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Based on semi-structured interviews with fifteen Arab social workers employed in municipal social services departments in Arab and mixed localities in Israel, this study sought to identify the 'cultural intervention strategies' these social workers used with their Arab clients. Cultural intervention strategies were operationalised as strategies that the interviewees felt were rooted in their culture and had not been taught in the Western-oriented schools of social work where they studied the profession in Israel. The findings identify twelve cultural intervention strategies aimed at enhancing coping, avoiding conflict with and punishment by the family and community, and bridging between the professional language and culture and the language and culture of the clients and the persons relevant to their cases. The discussion emphasises the advantages of the social workers having at their disposal both the professional strategies they learned in their social work education and the cultural strategies they acquired in the course of their work. It also notes the impediments to anti-oppressive and rights-based practice, identifies the complexity in researching cultural strategies and suggests areas for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-264
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Arabs
  • Culture
  • intervention
  • strategies
  • therapy


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