Legacies of Survival: Historical Violence and Ethnic Minority Behavior

Amiad Haran Diman*, Dan Miodownik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How is the electoral behavior of minorities shaped by past violence? Recent studies found that displacement increases hostility between perpetrators and displaced individuals, but there has been paltry research on members of surviving communities. We argue that the latter exhibit the opposite pattern because of their different condition. Violence will cause cross-generational vulnerability, fear and risk-aversion—leading the surviving communities to seek protection and avoid conflict by signalling loyalty and rejecting nationalist movements. In their situation as an excluded minority in the perpetrators’ state, they will be more likely to vote for out-group parties. Exploiting exogenous battlefield dynamics that created inter-regional variation in the Palestinian exodus (1947–1949), microlevel measurements that capture the damage of violence, and an original longitudinal data set, we show that Palestinian villages in Israel more severely impacted by the 1948 war have a much higher vote share to Jewish parties even 70 years later. Survey evidence further supports our theory, revealing that this pattern exists only for members of the surviving communities, and not among displaced individuals. The findings shed new light on the complex social relations that guide political decision-making in post-war settings and divided societies that suffer from protracted conflicts.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Israel-Palestinian Conflict
  • ethnic minorities
  • ethnic networks
  • ethnic parties
  • ethnic voting
  • historical memory
  • intergroup relations
  • legacies of violence


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