Authoritarianism and PoliticalSocialization in the Context of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Abstract

This study explored the hypothesis that authoritarianism is negatively associated with peace supportiveness. A sample of 197 Jewish/Israeli university students responded to a questionnaire that included items on attitudes toward the Middle East peace process as well as a personality measure. The results confirmed the hypothesis: Individuals who were less supportive of the peace process were more authoritarian conformists than were supporters of the process. A significant association between religiosity and attitudes toward the peace process was also found; the split between peace supporters and non-supporters corresponded roughly, though not exactly, to the split between religious and non-religious. The pro-peace individual is generally non-religious, less authoritarian conformist, and less aggressive. Hence, the social cognitions studied—beliefs about the peace process—may be group beliefs. Certain characteristics of the groups in question, such as socialization practices and social structure, may account for the personality features that covaried with the beliefs. The data showing that peace attitudes, religiosity, and certain personality traits form one entity might thus be marshalled in discussing the identity issue and applied to other scenes in contemporary conflicts.

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