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  • The "Coalition of Change" in Israel, 2021 - and its relation to Sherif's "Robbers Cave Experiment"

    This essay was submitted as part of the requirements for completing the course "Introduction to Psychology" presented by Professor Steve Joordens of University of Toronto, on Coursera. Check it out. On June 13th, 2021, a first-time-ever event took place in Israeli politics. A new government was installed that included both right-wing and left-wing, Arab and Jewish parties (more about it here). At its helm is Naftali Benet, the 13th Prime Minister of Israel, who is replacing Benjamin Netanyahu - to date the longest serving Prime Minister. For context, the reader should understand that between April-2019 and March-2021 - a span of less than two years - the State of Israel had four (4) legislative election campaigns. This is an exceptional statistic, since by-law, the elections should be held once every 4 years (once every 48 months) - an average of once every 6 months… Without delving into the mechanics of the Israeli political system (more about it here), one needs to understand that the system allows for multiple parties to compete for 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament (called Knesset). After the elections, the leader of the party with the most support from other parties gets an opportunity to form a coalition of a majority (61 or more of 120 members), thus becoming Prime Minister of Israel. After three previous election rounds, no stable coalition of similar-minded parties was successfully formed. And so, the unbelievable has come to pass - parties that just a short while before were (figuratively speaking) "at each other's throats", listing from-dawn-to-sunset the "evil" the other parties represented, have all sworn to join the same coalition and government. Considering the diversity of the parties in general, and in the context of Israeli politics in particular, this was unbelievable. Well, unbelievable unless one is familiar with Muzafer Sherif's (1906-1988) experiment, commonly known as "Robbers Cave Experiment" ( Sherif conducted the experiment (1954) in a boys' summer camp. In the first stage, the boys were randomly assigned to two equally-sized groups, and were given an opportunity to bond - thus creating an "in-group" identity (among these activities, they named their groups - "Eagles" and "Rattlers", selected flags and had other bonding activities). In the second stage, Sherif created competitions between the two groups in various camp games. These competitions resulted in negative feelings and unfavorable behaviours towards the "out-group" - the "other" team. Furthermore, by this stage virtually all friendships were within the in-group. In the third and final stage, Sherif attempted to reconcile the two groups, by creating common goals: tasks they had to complete together, such as getting water to the camp, erecting huts, fixing camp equipment and other such activities. This decreased tensions between groups and fostered some cross-group friendships. The Robbers Cave experiment provides a sort of an explanation as to how the diverse Israeli parties joined force. They all had one super-goal, one they believed was more important than their immediate agendas, and that was to replace the Prime Minister of the past 12 years, who seemed unable to lose an election - Benjamin Netanyahu. The reasons for this super-goal were diverse. While there's no Benjamin Netanyahu had a lot of great achievements in his terms as Prime Minister, there was criticism of him from all parties and the feelings these parties shared was it's time for change - time for a Coalition of Change. Yet, irrespective of their differing agendas, none of these parties was able to accomplish their goal on their own or with a more satisfying or favorable coalition. So to pursue this higher-level goal, the left-right- Arab-Jewish parties pulled their resources together - and formed a first-of-its-kind coalition in Israel, taking the Robbers Cave Experiment from the realm of a boys summer camp into the Israeli Knesset. And the big question is "now what?" Now that all members of this in-group achieved their immediate goal, what is to prevent them from reverting to their in-fighting for pursuing separate agendas, re-forming multiple out-groups, causing the already-fragile "coalition of change" to fall apart? Well, relying on the lessons of the Robbers Cave, the parties should continuously set joint-effort goals - and achieve them together. They can no longer be allowed to be "the other"/"the out-group" based on the classic divisions in Israel - right/left, Arab/jew, liberal/conservative - all should work hard to become the "in-group". They should, and actually must, focus on the common goals: the wellbeing of all the citizens of Israel and make Israel a great-country for all of its citizens. (c) 2021, Reuven J. Sherwin

  • What is your position on Palestine?

    So, the other day. Out of the blue. Someone read a blog post of mine. And asked me "What is your position on Palestine?" I could ignore the question - or try and answer it - even if only to myself. Usually, I'd go for the first option. Ignore it. Something happened. I'm trying to answer it. So here's a first attempt. I'm an Israeli, and a Jew. And proud of both. I believe it is every person's responsibility to make the world a better place. Making it better for everyone. I have sympathy for all humans. I believe all humans have rights - but also have responsibilities. All people have the right to live their lives in peace and in a respectable manner. The Palestinians have the right to live their lives in peace and in a respectable manner. The Israelis have the right to live their lives in peace and in a respectable manner. Both People have to realize "we're stuck here together" and search for a peaceful co-existence. (This is where I may lose you... If I haven't done so yet.) I believe in a zero-tolerance policy towards violence. If the Palestinians choose to use violence (as a mean for exercising their rights) - they should realize the Israelis will do the same. No excuses or mitigations. No "It's only rocks (or sticks)". If rockets are fired at Israeli citizens - or incendiary balloons are set on agricultural villages - or rocks are thrown at cars or people - I expect the Israeli army to defend Israeli citizens with any force required. Just like any {Country Name} citizen would expect the {Country Name} Government to defend them and their fellow citizens should missiles be targeting {Country Capital}. At any cost. (* This barely scratches the surface. There are so many other big issues. But as long as violence is involved, it's impossible to make serious progress...)

  • Time for Time Out.

    It's Time Out for me. As of today. I'm taking a Sabbatical. I've been super-fortunate in the past years to work for (and with) amazing teams and people. You know who you are. And I thank you for everything I've learned from (and with) you. You've all grown so much. Now, I'm taking time for growth. Time Out. (More about the thought process leading to my Time Out can be found in my previous post, "Cogwheels Don't Wait for the Weekend - and Neither Should You"; Link at the end of this post, in case you missed it and have the urge to catch up :-) I'm back to school. What happens after the Sabbatical? I don't know yet. TTYL. (*) Link to Cogwheels Don't Wait for the Weekend - and Neither Should You

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  • Surmera Assetov | Reuven Sherwin | Contact

    CONTACT ME Send Thanks for reaching out Please leave this field empty. Reuven J. Sherwin My hobbies include gadgets, reading (e.g. Robert Heinlein, JK Rowling, Nelson DeMille, Lee Child, Douglas Adams), Scuba Diving and other light-weight sports. ​ Based in Ra'anana, Israel

  • Privacy Policy for Hebrew Date

    Privacy Policy Reuven J. Sherwin built the Hebrew Date app as a Free app. This SERVICE is provided by Reuven J. Sherwin at no cost and is intended for use as is. This page is used to inform visitors regarding my policies with the collection, use, and disclosure of Personal Information if anyone decided to use my Service. If you choose to use my Service, then you agree to the collection and use of information in relation to this policy. The Personal Information that I collect is used for providing and improving the Service. I will not use or share your information with anyone except as described in this Privacy Policy. The terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, which is accessible at Hebrew Date unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy. Information Collection and Use For a better experience, while using our Service, I may require you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information. The information that I request will be retained on your device and is not collected by me in any way. Log Data I want to inform you that whenever you use my Service, in a case of an error in the app I collect data and information (through third party products) on your phone called Log Data. This Log Data may include information such as your device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app when utilizing my Service, the time and date of your use of the Service, and other statistics. Cookies Cookies are files with a small amount of data that are commonly used as anonymous unique identifiers. These are sent to your browser from the websites that you visit and are stored on your device's internal memory. This Service does not use these “cookies” explicitly. However, the app may use third party code and libraries that use “cookies” to collect information and improve their services. You have the option to either accept or refuse these cookies and know when a cookie is being sent to your device. If you choose to refuse our cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of this Service. Service Providers I may employ third-party companies and individuals due to the following reasons: To facilitate our Service; To provide the Service on our behalf; To perform Service-related services; or To assist us in analyzing how our Service is used. I want to inform users of this Service that these third parties have access to your Personal Information. The reason is to perform the tasks assigned to them on our behalf. However, they are obligated not to disclose or use the information for any other purpose. Security I value your trust in providing us your Personal Information, thus we are striving to use commercially acceptable means of protecting it. But remember that no method of transmission over the internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure and reliable, and I cannot guarantee its absolute security. Links to Other Sites This Service may contain links to other sites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Note that these external sites are not operated by me. Therefore, I strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of these websites. I have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party sites or services. Children’s Privacy These Services do not address anyone under the age of 13. I do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. In the case I discover that a child under 13 has provided me with personal information, I immediately delete this from our servers. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your child has provided us with personal information, please contact me so that I will be able to do necessary actions. Changes to This Privacy Policy I may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. Thus, you are advised to review this page periodically for any changes. I will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page. This policy is effective as of 2020-04-20 Contact Us If you have any questions or suggestions about my Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact me at

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