Prejudice, social distance, and discriminatory attitudes towards labor migrants in Israel

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This chapter examines theoretical propositions regarding the social mechanisms that produce hostility and discriminatory attitudes towards out-group populations. Specifically, we compare the effect of perceptions of socio-economic and national threats, social contact and prejudice on social distance expressed toward labor migrants. To do so, we examine exclusionary views held by majority and minority groups (Jews and Arabs) towards non-Jewish labor migrants in Israel. Data analysis is based on a survey of the adult Israeli population based on a stratified sample of 1,342 respondents conducted in Israel in 2007. Altogether our results show that Israelis (both Jews and Arabs) are resistant to accepting and integrating foreigners into Israeli society. Among Jews this is because the incorporation of non-Jews challenges the definition of Israel as a Jewish state and poses a threat to the homogeneity of the nation. Among Arabs, this is probably due to threat and competition over resources. The meanings of the findings are discussed within the unique ethno-national context of Israeli society and in light of sociological theories on ethnic exclusionism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWho Pays the Price? Foreign Workers, Society, Crime and the Law
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781608763207
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences

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