Geographical scale of tolerance in the urban area

Itzhak Omer*, Michael Romann, Ran Goldblatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper examines attitudes of mutual tolerance as expressed by the Jewish majority and the Arab minority in Jaffa, a mixed residential area in the city of Tel Aviv. More specifically, it focuses on the willingness of members of each group to share residential locations at different geographical scales (such as: the same housing unit, street, neighborhood, or the city as a whole). The survey's findings indicate, as expected, that Arabs and Jews alike tend to be more tolerant in this respect as the geographical scale increases and when actually residing in mixed neighborhoods, in comparison to those living in ethnically homogeneous residential areas. At the same time, it became evident that residents expressing intolerance are more sensitive to geographical scale when compared to residents expressing greater tolerance. Furthermore, sensitivity to scale was found to be more intense among the Jewish majority population, particularly among residents of homogeneous neighborhoods. We interpret those patterns of tolerance across geographical scale as expressing people's desire to control their daily encounters with the Other through practices of avoidance while simultaneously tending to preserve intergroup contacts for their functional benefits and social rewards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-224
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


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