Israeli-Palestinian social work encounters

Edith Blit-Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Summary: This study deals with the encounters of Arab social work students who are citizens of Israel, with Palestinian clients from East Jerusalem. The study was based on interviews with social work students who carried out their field work in East Jerusalem. This article discusses a special kind of transcultural practice in social work on the basis of a case study analysis of the dynamics and strategies reported by 15 Arab Israeli citizens students regarding their practice with Palestinian Arabs from East Jerusalem. Findings: The findings indicate two themes: (1) The encounters aroused inner-personal conflicts regarding the students’ identity. (2) The students noted the importance of creating a dialogue with the clients as a way of coping with the difficulties entailed by their work. Applications: This case study calls attention to the importance of embracing a transcultural perspective in practice theory. A transcultural perspective needs to go beyond the conceptualization of culture and ethnicity to include other relevant contextual variables such as structural factors, power relations, and an understanding of the political context. In addition, academic institutions need to develop culturally sensitive training programs while creating a safe space to discuss cultural challenges and while clarifying different identities faced by social work students from minority groups who share similar backgrounds with their clients.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1124-1141
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Social work
  • case study
  • cultural competency
  • diversity
  • ethnic minorities
  • field work


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