International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

Article

Culture-Sensitive Mediation: A Hybrid Model for the Israeli Bukharian Community

Keywords Community mediation, traditional communities, ethnic, conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, Bukharian
Authors David Shimoni
Author's information

235797 David Shimoni
David Shimoni, PhD, is the director of Goshrim Mediation Center in Israel and a lecturer at the Beit Berl academic college in Israel. His email address is: david@goshrim.com.
  • Abstract

      Background: Attempts to practice standard (Western) mediation in a traditional ethnic community – Jewish Bukharians in Ramla, Israel – failed owing to the incompatibility of this mediation with the community’s customs and norms. Purpose: To develop a hybrid model for conflict resolution in this community and traditional communities in general, following an extensive inquiry that examined the cultural characteristics of the Bukharian community in Ramla and the preferences of its members with regard to intervention in conflicts within the group. Methodology: Mixed methods research, combining questionnaires, a focus group and three interviews. Findings: The findings provided an in-depth understanding of the Bukharian community in Ramla, its cultural characteristics and their preference when dealing with conflicts. Largely, from the sample I studied it can be suggested that the Bukharians accept power distances as something natural, that they can tolerate ambiguous situations and tend to avoid direct confrontation and expression of emotions. Most of the informants have a clear preference to turn to respected members of the community when they seek assistance in handling conflicts. These findings allowed the construction of the hybrid mediation model composed of six stages: Intake, Framework Formation, Opening Statements, Emergence of Interests, Options Generation and Agreement. This model calls for co-mediation of a traditional indigenous dignitary with a professional mediator who together conduct a tailor-made mediation. Practical implications: This unique model is most suitable for the Jewish Bukharians, but can also be used by other groups worldwide that share the same cultural characteristics of the Bukharian Jews.

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