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Israel on the Couch

The Psychology of the Peace Process

Ofer Grosbard, Vamik D. Volkan

Publication Year: 2003

Applies clinical pyschology to explain the dynamics of the Middle East peace process. By applying a clinical psychologist’s insight into the Israeli-Arab conflict, Ofer Grosbard lays the foundation for a new theory and practice that espouses the use of clinical tools to promote relations between countries, religions, political parties, cultures, and different identities.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies


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pp. Cover-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iii


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pp. iv-iv


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

On the evening of May 10, 2000, during the fifty-second anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, a ceremony took place in Jerusalem in the area surrounding Theodor Herzl's tomb. I was an Inaugural Rabin Fellow at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv at the time, so I had the opportunity to attend this ceremony. The event was presided over by Avraham ...

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pp. xiii-xvii

To understand the journey I took in order to write this book, I must share with the reader some milestones that tie my personal and national life together. I was born in Tel Aviv in 1954, as the youngest of three children. My father immigrated to Israel from Lithuania in 1932 with his family at the age of sixteen. My mother emigrated from Berlin in 1935 with her family when she was eleven. My father joined the anti-British Etzel underground, and ...

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pp. 1-8

The goal of this book is to persuade the reader that the peace process is, fundamentally, an emotional process. Just as in the early days of psychology people needed to be persuaded that therapy helps, so today they need to be convinced that conflicts between nations can be resolved by ...

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1 The Jewish People

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pp. 9-18

The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else. "Look," he says to the therapist, "Freud, Einstein, Marx, Jesus, and others, were all Jews. And it is an undisputed fact that, considering our small size, our people gave humanity more than a few geniuses, not to mention the Book of Books, the Bible, and our God, whom everyone else copied. No wonder everyone envies me and mistreats ...

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2 The Dynamic of the Peace Process

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pp. 19-62

In business negotiations we apply various manipulations and tactics to get a better price. We might insist on every detail and demand a clear and binding contract. Emotional relationships, such as those between partners or friends or with children, put emotions at the center and give them the stage. The questions we ask about emotional relationship are whether they include partnership, trust, mutual appreciation, and so ...

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3 The Story We Tell Ourselves,and the World, about Ourselves

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pp. 63-67

From the start of the anthem, with the words “As long as the Jewish heart yearns,” it is clear that it is focused on Jewish feelings. It raises the question of how a non-Jewish Israeli feels about his national anthem. Israeli Arabs wish we had a more universal anthem, which would reflect the yearnings of the Arabs who live in Israel. Giving Israeli Arabs full ...

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4 Foreign Affairs

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pp. 67-122

The negotiations with Syria offer us an opportunity to take a close look at the paranoid experience, the feeling that we are the poor victims of aggression directed at us from without. Syria’s demand during peace negotiations with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to receive early warning stations on the Golan Heights so that we do not attack them, seemed to many of us bizarre or manipulative. For them to think we would attack them! We really...

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5 The Arabs and Us—An Intersubjective Approach

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pp. 122-157

The Arabs should learn to live with our shortcomings but not with our humiliations. I am writing this to increase our awareness of the emotional messages we convey to the Arabs. It might be simplest to begin with Egypt. If we just listen to Mubarak with emotional listening, as we do in therapy, we will understand how much we have hurt the Egyptians. Mubarak ...

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6 The Nonconventional Threat

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pp. 157-181

The issue of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (called “nonconventional weapons, or “weapons of mass destruction”) touches Israel’s deepest anxieties, which we suppress. Nonconventional weapons in our region provide our enemies with the actual possibility of carrying out their wish to destroy us, which has been expressed openly and freely. Everywhere in the ...

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pp. 182-185

Ihave to admit that there were basic things I could not see or even did not want to see. Again my unconscious surprises me. Since the breaking out of the second Intifada in October 2000 many Israelis have had to admit that there were things they did not want to hear or see. They wanted to hope that the other side would give up the “right to return” (the Palestinians’ desire to return to their lands and homes inside Israel). They wanted to believe that peace ...


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pp. 187-195

E-ISBN-13: 9780791487464
E-ISBN-10: 0791487466
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791456057
Print-ISBN-10: 0791456056

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Series Editor Byline: Russell Stone See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 55676346
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Israel on the Couch

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Peace -- Psychological aspects.
  • Attitude (Psychology).
  • Political psychology.
  • National characteristics, Israeli -- Psychological aspects.
  • Conflict management -- Israel.
  • Israel -- Politics and government -- Psychological aspects.
  • Arab-Israeli conflict -- Peace -- Psychological aspects.
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