Reducing prejudice and promoting positive intergroup attitudes among elementary-school children in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Rony Berger, Joy Benatov, Hisham Abu-Raiya, Carmit T. Tadmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current investigation tested the efficacy of the Extended Class Exchange Program (ECEP) in reducing prejudicial attitudes. Three hundred and twenty-two 3rd and 4th grade students from both Israeli–Jewish and Israeli–Palestinian schools in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa were randomly assigned to either intervention or control classes. Members of the intervention classes engaged in ECEP's activities, whereas members of the control classes engaged in a social–emotional learning program. The program's outcomes were measured a week before, immediately after, and 15 months following termination. Results showed that the ECEP decreased stereotyping and discriminatory tendencies toward the other group and increased positive feelings and readiness for social contact with the other group upon program termination. Additionally, the effects of the ECEP were generalized to an ethnic group (i.e., Ethiopians) with whom the ECEP's participants did not have any contact. Finally, the ECEP retained its significant effect 15 months after the program's termination, despite the serious clashes between Israel and the Palestinians that occurred during that time. This empirical support for the ECEP'S utility in reducing prejudice makes it potentially applicable to other areas in the world, especially those that are characterized by ethnic tension and violent conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of School Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conditions for optimal intergroup contact were met in the ECEP meetings. First, the Palestinian and Jewish students were treated as equals (similar number of Israeli–Palestinian and Jewish students, both languages were used interchangeably, Israeli–Palestinian and Jewish facilitators were present in all activities). Second, the activities of the ECEP meetings involved face-to-face interactions where the students shared the goals of achieving the tasks designed by the program facilitators. Third, the program promoted intergroup cooperation; in each meeting, cross-group tasks were designed to promote interdependency between the participants avoiding intergroup competitive activities. Fourth, the program was sponsored and supported by the municipality's education department, the school administration, and the parents. Finally, the facilitators and the homeroom teachers also attempted to foster contact between the students at the end of the program by encouraging them to exchange phones and electronic addresses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society for the Study of School Psychology


  • Contact hypotheses
  • Elementary school children
  • Intergroup attitudes
  • Israeli–Jews
  • Israeli–Palestinians
  • Prejudice-reduction program
  • Stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Reducing prejudice and promoting positive intergroup attitudes among elementary-school children in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this