When Jewish and Zionist Identities Encounter Otherness: Educational Case Study

  • Ohad DavidEmail author
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


One of the most important aspects in the process of shaping identity in general, and national identity in particular, is the construction of relationship between one’s own identity and other identities. Three paradigms analyze the concepts of “identity” and “otherness” and the relationships between them. The essentialist paradigm tends to negate the “other,” claiming that mutual connections between self-identity and other identities will impair self-authenticity. In contrast, the paradigm of radical constructionism focuses on deconstruction of identity. Its premise is that there is no such thing as “unique identity” which stands by itself. The “other” is the only medium through which identity is constructed. In contrast to these two paradigms, the paradigm of moderate constructionism and the sociopsychological model of identity claim that “identity” and “otherness” are two sides of the same coin: the construction of identity is a dynamic process which is based on a dialogue between (at least two) unique identities. The concept of dialogue means that we affirm the mere existence of a basic identity core, while preserving the opportunity of transcending this identity when we meet the other.

Adopting the paradigm of moderate constructionism, the chapter analyzes the way in which Jewish-Zionist identity is constructed through a dialogue with other identities. Specifically, the chapter presents a content analysis of an educational program as a case study: a moot court written and performed by teachers and students in an elementary school in Israel. This moot court was based on real events—racist acts against Muslim soccer players in the Israeli soccer league. The content analysis demonstrates how the moot court enabled the teachers and students to examine different ways of treating the “other” based on the Jewish culture and how it encouraged them to reflect on the relationship between identity and otherness without diminishing their loyalty to their Jewish and Zionist identities.


National Identity Jewish Identity Jewish People Radical Constructionism Jewish State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationLevinsky College of EducationTel AvivIsrael

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