Generational, Ethnic, and National Differences in Attitudes Toward the Rights of Children in Israel and Palestine


Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. E-mail:


With the nearly universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children's rights have become a cornerstone of discussions in relation to human rights and human services around the world. Although the concept of children's rights is now broadly established, the meaning of this concept and its significance for policies and programs are apt to vary across nations, cultures, religions, and age groups. With the close proximity of diverse national, ethnic, and religious groups and seemingly omnipresent political conflicts about the meaning of rights among them, the Middle East presents unusual opportunities to understand the effects of such variables on attitudes toward children's rights. Drawing from samples of Jews from Israel, Palestinian Muslims from Israel, and Palestinian Muslims from the Palestinian Authority, surveys were conducted of adolescents, young mothers (mothers of toddlers), middle–aged mothers (mothers of adolescents), and grandmothers. Attitudes toward children's rights were more strongly affected by the respondents' ethnicity and nationality than by their age.