Host or hostile? Attitudes towards asylum seekers in Israel and in Denmark

Adi Hercowitz-Amir, Rebeca Raijman, Eldad Davidov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we focus on attitudes towards asylum seekers in two countries: Denmark and Israel. Both serve as interesting cases through which to study public sentiment of host populations for people seeking refuge. We examine the role of three core dimensions that have been relatively overlooked in previous studies: social contact with asylum seekers, the role of support for humanitarian policies and perceptions of legitimacy of the asylum seekers’ claims. We also gauge the way perceptions of threat mediate the effect of these core dimensions on individuals’ willingness to share their national benefits with those looking for refugee status in the two countries. For the analysis, we use multiple group structural equation modelling. On the descriptive level, findings suggest that respondents are considerably more hostile in Israel than in Denmark, although the mechanisms leading to the formation of exclusionary attitudes are partly similar. We conclude with some limitations of the study and closing remarks about similarities and differences across the two countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-439
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • Asylum seekers
  • Denmark
  • Israel
  • attitudes to granting rights
  • humanitarian policy
  • non-genuine refugees
  • perceptions of threat
  • social contact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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