Public Preferences for Intergroup Assistance in Conflicts Facing Joint External Threats: Lessons From COVID-19 in Israel

Liran Harsgor, Alon Yakter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With global changes, large-scale natural hazards are more frequent and intense, posing a particular challenge for groups in conflict. Do these shared external threats influence group willingness to cooperate and assist the adversary, and how? The literature suggests inconsistent expectations, from increased intergroup cooperation, to exacerbated animosity, to no discernable impact. We explore this question in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a joint exogenous threat for both sides. Using multiple surveys and a conjoint experiment, we examine whether and how COVID-19 threat perceptions affected Jewish-Israeli preferences for collaborating with the Palestinians against the pandemic, including a novel exploration of concrete policy priorities. We find that greater COVID-19 threat perceptions have little effect on collaborative policy preferences, corroborating politics-as-usual arguments: support for out-group assistance, cooperation, and cost-sharing is polarized by ideological orientation. Our findings outline both constraints and opportunities for intergroup collaboration policies in conflicts facing joint outside challenges.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 2976/21).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • conflict
  • conjoint experiment
  • intergroup relations
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • pandemics
  • political attitudes
  • public opinion
  • public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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