Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Tatsushi Arai


Many Arabs are confronted with the accusation that they are “normalizing with the Zionist enemy” when they participate in people-to-people programs with Israeli Jews. This paper explores the phenomenon of Arab participation in the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, an academic coexistence program in Israel, and how the participants relate their experiences to the anti-normalization discourse. At the Arava Institute, Palestinian and Jordanians study and live alongside Israelis; Arab participants are often labeled “normalizers” within their society, a term associated with being a traitor or collaborator. From an anti-normalization perspective, people-to-people programs promote a positive public image of Israel and encourage Arabs to accept the occupation of the Palestinian territories as ‘normal.’ Using a phenomenological case study with two Palestinian and two Jordanian alumni of the Arava, the researcher seeks to understand the participants’ attitudes and perceptions of normalization and anti-normalization, their motivation to join this program despite anti-normalization sentiments in their home communities, and what the participants gained from their experience.


Inequality and Stratification | International and Area Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology and Interaction