Domestic Violence in Arab Society: A Comparison of Arab and Jewish Women in Shelters in Israel

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The aim of the current study was to address a gap in the literature by determining prevalence, specific types of violence, and risk factors of intimate partner violence (IPV) among Israeli born Arab women compared with Israeli born Jewish women. The following measures were compared: demographic and socioeconomic measures; measures relating to the characteristics of the violence, that is, the three types of violence (physical, emotional, and verbally threatening), sense of danger, and history of violence in childhood; family support levels; and perpetrator characteristics. The sample consisted of 154 Israeli born Arab women and 149 Israeli born Jewish women who were staying in shelters for victims of domestic violence in Israel. A comparison of the two groups revealed that the Arab women were exposed to more physical violence and received less family support than did their Jewish counterparts. The proportion of Arab perpetrators with access to weapons was higher than that of Jewish perpetrators, whereas the proportion of police complaints against Jewish perpetrators was higher than that against Arab perpetrators. Arab women were also younger, less educated, and less a part of the workforce than Jewish women. The contribution of the woman’s age to the variance in levels of physical violence was negative and significant. In contrast, the contribution of her sense of danger, and various perpetrator characteristics, was positive. Moreover, the interaction between sense of danger × ethnicity contributed significantly to levels of violence. This study extends the existing knowledge about the contribution of ethnicity as one of many variables that play a role in the lives of women who are victims of domestic violence and highlights the need to develop, in particular, unique individual, community, and social interventions for Arab women in Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP26-NP45
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number1-2
Early online date1 Sep 2017
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study was supported by The Ministry of Social Affairs, Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 SAGE Publications.


  • Arab women
  • Jewish women
  • culture
  • domestic violence
  • ethnicity


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