The Israeli-Palestinian conflict through theatre: A qualitative study of Israeli high school students

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Both theatre artists and educators believe the theatre has many advantages as a vehicle for the promotion of social and political issues. This study examines how the Israeli theatre represents the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promotes peace and tolerance among young people. The study, conducted between the years 2005 and 2007, included 26 in-depth interviews with various creators (playwrights, directors and actors), who intended their plays to be seen by adult and high school audiences, mapping out and analysing the themes of 36 plays that dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from different angles. This article will present the main findings of 22 focus groups held with 110 teenagers about six sample plays that were chosen. Analysis of the findings shows that the plays provided the teenagers with new information about difficulties the Palestinian population has to deal with, and deepened their thinking about issues and dilemmas related to the occupation. However, watching the plays in the school setting made it impossible to realise the potential of using plays as an intervention tool, namely to initiate an open and deep discussion about issues and dilemmas of tolerance and democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Drama Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by grants from the Vidal Angel Post-Doctoral Fellowships for the Research Against Hate and Bigotry awarded to Dr. Anat Gesser-Edelsburg at the Minerva Center for Human Rights, the Hebrew University and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC) at Tel Aviv University awarded to Dr. Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, Prof. Nurit Guttman and Prof. Moshe Israelashvili.


  • conflict
  • moral education
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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