Public perceptions of crime seriousness in Israel: Native-born versus new immigrants

Sergio Herzog, Arye Rattner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The broad consensus generally found with regard to public perceptions of crime seriousness has been shown to reflect "consistency" in relative rankings rather than "absolute agreement" in ratings among sample groups. The present study compared the crime seriousness perceptions of native-born Israelis with those of two groups of new immigrants (one from the former Soviet Union and the other from Ethiopia). Questionnaires including 30 different criminal offenses for evaluation were distributed by means of face-to-face interviews to a representative sample of the Israeli adult population. As expected, the three groups provided very similar rankings of offenses but much less absolute agreement (ratings). It is suggested that the significant gaps in the perceptions of the groups stem from "culture conflict" (Culture Conflict and Crime, Social Science Research Council, New York, 1938), that is, differences in the social and cultural norms of the immigrants' countries of origin and those prevailing in the absorbing society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-341
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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