Returning to the Wild West: Jewish Violence, Social Reaction, Self-Help and Social Control

Michael Wolfowicz*, Esther Salama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In recent years, the issue of Jewish settler violence in Israel and its territories has garnered increasing attention. The claimed motivations for such violence are that it is a response to Palestinian-Arab violence and perceived government inaction, as well as perceived selectivity in the formal response toward violence perpetrated by these two populations. These claims point to Jewish settler violence as being a crime as a form of social reaction, self-help and social control. We test this hypothesis by combining and analysing data from the Israel Security Agency, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations and open sources for the period of 2009-2022 (n = 168 months) using a series of generalized negative-binomial models and Newey-West ordinary least squares models. We find that Jewish settler violence increases as serious Arab violence increases and decreases when formal responses toward Arab violence are higher. We also find iatrogenic effects for harsh measures targeting Jewish violence, namely administrative detention orders. The results imply that to reduce collective violence, it is necessary to take a more consistent and balanced approach in formal responses against opposing groups.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalInternational Annals of Criminology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International Society of Criminology, 2024.


  • collective violence
  • deterrence
  • social control
  • social reaction


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