This paper compares Palestinian and Israeli members of self-help groups regarding their understanding of the concept “self-help” as well as their attitudes towards participation in self-help groups. While both samples are similar in terms of the meanings they associate with the concept “self-help,” they are different in their attitudes towards participation in self-help groups. Given the unique situation of Palestinians living in Israel, this research contributes to the understanding of self-help organization in cultural and political minority groups. The analysis is based on two samples of convenience: 60 Israeli and 213 Palestinian members of self-help groups. The Israeli sample was recruited using a “snowball” method from groups all over Israel. The Palestinian sample was recruited in East Jerusalem via social welfare agencies. Data was collected by filling out a short, mostly open-ended questionnaire. The Israeli participants received the questionnaire in Hebrew and completed it in Hebrew. For the Palestinian participants, the questionnaire was translated into Arabic and filled out in Arabic. Their responses were then back-translated into Hebrew. The questionnaires were content analyzed, and the same three main themes emerged for both the Israeli and Palestinian samples, albeit in a different order. The Israeli members understood the concept “self-help” as implying self-help groups, non-professional help, and problem solving. The Palestinian members understood the concept as implying non-professional help, self-help groups, and problem solving. While the Israelis were more positive regarding general participation in self-help groups, the Palestinians were more positive towards personal involvement in such groups. The significance of the findings is discussed within the framework of the unique situation of Palestinians living in Israel, as well as cultural and political differences between minority and majority communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science