Do Jews and Arabs Differ in Their Fear of Terrorism and Crime?

Mally Shechory Bitton, Yousef Silawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The current study was carried out with the aim of supplementing the existing literature and broadening the understanding of the determinants of two powerful types of fear, fear of terrorism and fear of crime, by comparing their presence among Jews and Arabs in Israel. Based on an overview of factors influencing fear of victimization, the study focused on individual variables (ethnicity, sex, age, objective, and subjective exposure) as well as on neighborhood disorder and social integration. The sample consisted of 375 Israeli students (191 Jews and 184 Arabs). Predictions of fear of terrorism and crime were conducted with two multiple regressions. Fear of terrorism was significantly predicted by gender (women more than men), higher self exposure to terror, and higher neighborhood disorder. The only interaction found with regard to exposure to incidents showed that previous victimization predicts only fear of terrorism and only among Arabs who were themselves affected or exposed to the victimization of others. Fear of crime was predicted by sector (Jews more than Arabs), gender (women more than men), higher neighborhood disorder, and lower social integration. As far as known, this is the first attempt to examine differences between Jews and Arabs with regard to these two types of fear and to predict their causes. The findings help gain a better understanding as to how people perceive the threat of crime and terrorism, in general and in the Arab–Jewish context in particular. The findings also enable an understanding of the complexity of living under ongoing terrorism threats. The results are discussed in accordance with the literature, concluding with the need for further research that will take into account the wider cultural and social context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4041-4060
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • Arabs
  • Jews
  • fear of crime
  • fear of terrorism


Dive into the research topics of 'Do Jews and Arabs Differ in Their Fear of Terrorism and Crime?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this