Determinants of fear and hope - Abstract

 This study explores the relations between collective memory, delegitimization of the rival, and personal experiences, on the one hand, and personal and collective fear and hope, on the other hand, in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict. A questionnaire was administered to 217 Israeli-Jewish undergraduates from three academic institutions in Israel. The dependent variables were levels of fear and hope on a personal and collective level, whereas the independent variables were collective memory of the Jewish past, delegitimization of Arabs, and the personal experiences of contact with Arabs, military service in the occupied territories, close relationships to a terror victim, and family relationships with Holocaust survivors. Results show that (a) delegitimization of Arabs has the highest correlations with fear and hope, personally as well as collectively; and (b) the centrality of Jewish collective memory is directly related to levels of collective fear. In addition, we found a combined interaction effect of collective memory and personal contact with Arabs on fear, and of collective memory with political orientation and various elements of life experience on hope. It seems, hence, that the level of centrality of collective memory serves to moderate the influence of conflict-related life experiences on personal and collective fear and hope.