‘Sadly, Not All Love Affairs Are Meant To Be … ’ Attitudes Towards Interfaith Relationships in a Conflict Zone

Siham Yahya*, Simon Boag, Anika Munshi, Tal Litvak-Hirsch

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examines attitudes towards interfaith relationships between individuals living in the conflict state of Israel. An exploratory method was used and interviews were conducted with Jewish Israeli, Christian Palestinian, and Muslim Palestinian students currently living in Israel. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes that emerged from the interviews. Four main themes were identified: (i) negative attitudes towards interfaith relationships, (ii) importance of familial approval, (iii) societal pressure in Israel, and lastly, (iv) preservation of cultural identity. These findings demonstrated that overall, participants were adamantly opposed to engaging in interfaith relationships; the main concern was pleasing their parents. Another concern was adhering to religious teachings, which forbid such relationships. Participants also stated that conserving one’s religious and cultural identity in a conflict state was of utmost importance and interfaith relationships were perceived as fraternising with the ‘enemy’. This paper demonstrates that attitudes towards interfaith relationships may be uniquely shaped by living in the conflict zone of Israel, whose citizens are particularly concerned with preserving their cultural identity – whether they were Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. For a society such as Israel where religion and culture intermingle, this paper suggests that interfaith relationships may not be readily welcomed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)265-285
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016


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