International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305


Bridge between absorbing and absorbed: Ethiopian mediators in the Israeli Public Service

Rachel Sharaby
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ashqelon Academic College and Social Sciences Department, Bar Ilan University, Hashmonaim St. 2, Petach Tikva 49275, Israel.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 18 December 2012
  •  Published: 31 January 2013



This article examines the nature of the work of traditional mediators (Shmaglotz) of immigrants from Ethiopia in Israel, within the framework of municipal mediation centres. These centres are managed by welfare divisions in collaboration with the police and additional public bodies. The findings indicate that the collaboration between the shmaglotz and the professionals serves the absorbers as well as the absorbed. The absorbers are exposed to the culture of the immigrants from Ethiopia and contribute to the institutionalization of the traditional mediation model in a modern society. Nonetheless, the absorbers did not adopt an interactive multicultural approach, and the shmaglotz model is applied solely to the community of immigrants from Ethiopia. For the absorbed, the traditional mediation enables them to preserve values from their culture. However, through the shmaglotz and their old-new toolbox, the immigrants are exposed to dialogue with the culture of the absorbers.


Key words: Ethiopia, pluralism, tradition, mediators, immigrants.