Rabin Scholars: Researching Peace And Tolerance

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Rabin ScholarshipsFour doctoral and post-doctoral students are carrying out research at the Truman Institute this year, thanks to the Rabin Scholarship for the Advancement of Peace and Tolerance. Sponsored by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, the scholarship supports studies related to advancing peace and tolerance throughout the world.

For more information about CFHU's Rabin Scholarship for the Advancement of Peace and Tolerance and how to apply for the 2014-2015 scholarship, please click here.

Robert HershornRobert Hershorn – For his Ph.D. studies in Canada, Robert explored the inherent struggle within internal and cross-cultural collective identity relationships amongst Israeli-Palestinian bridge-building participants. “I interviewed participants at a summer program in Canada that brought together Israeli, Palestinian and Canadian youth,” he relates. “There, activities such as dialogue and lm production were designed to help the youth understand the other side’s suffering, by creatively repositioning their narratives.” As a post-doctoral scholar at Truman, Robert is following up with the same participants, with the aim of understanding the long-term impact of their bridge-building experience. “I’m asking questions such as: Are they more critical of entrenched cultural dynamics in their own side’s political and mainstream media landscape? Have they remained involved in peace-related activities? Have they maintained their contact with participants on the other side?” Robert is also attending bridge-building meetings held by NGO’s based in Jerusalem in order to explore how they attempt to shift dominant cultural narratives. “I want to understand the ‘in between spaces’, which, if realized with sincerity, can help people humanize one-another,” he says.


Ellie FriedmanElie Friedman – For his Ph.D. dissertation, Elie is analyzing the discourse of Israeli political leaders within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I’m looking at three different time periods to see how Israeli leaders have presented the conflict to the public, in both domestic and foreign forums,” says Elie, who moved to Israel from Toronto 13 years ago. He has chosen periods with very different political and media natures: the years following the Six-Day War, from 1967-1973, which were characterized by a newly self-condent foreign policy and nationalistic media; the Oslo period, from 1993-2000, when intense negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians coincided with the birth of satellite news networks and the beginning of non-governmental television in Israel; and the previous Netanyahu government, characterized by a lack of negotiations, a 24-hour news cycle and the demands of social media. “In each period, I am focusing on how the speaker perceives the audience and the character of the media being addressed, while attempting to design messages to suit these perceptions,” Elie notes.


Mauricio DimantMauricio Dimant – An unusual Israeli-Arab population is enabling Mauricio to explore the “return” to Israel of Israeli Palestinians from Latin America. For his Rabin scholarship dissertation, Argentinian-born Mauricio is studying a group of Palestinian friends with Israeli citizenship who emigrated from the same village in Israel to the same city in Venezuela in 1973, in search of economic advancement. Some 20 years later, with the families they had raised in Latin America, they began returning to their village in Israel, due to economic changes in Venezuela and other reasons. “While this was a homecoming for the parents,” Mauricio notes, “the children – who had South American names and spoke Arabic with a Latin-American accent - were ‘returning’ to a place of origin that had never really been their own.” Mauricio is using interviews, analysis of family documents, personal files and offcial Israeli and Venezuelan documents to study the dialogue between two generations with very different diasporic experiences.



Assaf DavidAssaf David – An adjunct lecturer of political science at Hebrew University, Assaf is studying the cooled-o relations between Israel and Jordan nearly 20 years after the peace treaty was signed between the two countries. “While strategic cooperation still exists, deterioration of peace relations is palpable at all levels,” he explains. “I am analyzing how Israelis and Jordanians alike are having “second thoughts” about the treaty due to the declining feasibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Assaf’s research examines the rise of religious and political ideologies in Israel and Jordan, which seek to redefine their own countries and change the strategic policies that their elites employ to preserve their dominance over their respective Palestinian populations. He is also exploring the impact of civic cooperation on peace relations, as well as the discrepancy between the ideology and practice of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood vis-à-vis Israel, especially following the breakout of the Arab Spring.

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