Social Distance in the Israeli-Arab Conflict: A Resource-Dependency Analysis

Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar, Michael Inbar

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13 Scopus citations


This article deals with the phenomenon of social distance as a social-psychological dimension of intergroup relationships. We discuss the concept of social distance and the research associated with it, pointing to some shortcomings in the theoretical thinking associated with this concept. We adopt an analytic framework that views the varieties of social distance as collective phenomena, reflecting the structure of resource interdependence between groups. The data set at our disposal enabled us to apply this framework to two reciprocal dyadic relationships in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict: Israeli Jews vis-à-vis Israeli Arabs (Palestinians), and Israeli Jews vis-à-vis Egyptian Arabs. The empirical findings indicate that while the Israelis are unwilling to have the same degree of close relations with the Palestinians that the Palestinians desire with the Israelis, the Egyptians are unwilling to have as close a relationship with the Israelis as the Israelis would like to have with the Egyptians. Both patterns of social distance are those expected in the light of the proposed resource-dependency perspective, as alternative theoretical views seem incapable of adequately explaining them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-316
Number of pages34
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1986


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