Method: The study was based on a survey questionnaire distributed in Social Work classes. The survey was anonymous, and students were instructed that participation was entirely voluntary. Overall, 158 students participated, comprising about a third of the student body. Of those, 99 (62.7%) were Jewish. The questionnaire was composed of background questions, four vignettes, and a Multiculturalism Education Scale. The vignettes were manipulated within four different versions, describing ambiguous situations, in which a person presented as either Hebrew speaking or Arabic speaking, has either done something unpleasant, or was situated in a potentially dangerous position. Each vignette was followed by Hostile Attribution Scale or by Dangerousness Attribution Scale, according to the nature of the vignette. All scales had high levels of internal consistency (Cronbach's alphas ranging between .80 and .95).
Results: Contrary to hypothesis, there was no significant difference between first, second and third year students in Multiculturalism Education Scale, Hostile Attribution or Dangerousness Attribution. Surprisingly, there were significant differences between Jewish and Arab students on most of those scales. Arab students had a higher mean on the Multiculturalism Education Scale, and tended to higher levels of Hostile Attribution compared to Jewish students, yet, no difference in tendency towards attribution of dangerousness was found between the two groups. However, when examining the targets of attribution, Jewish students attributed more hostility to Jewish characters than to Arabic characters, and more dangerousness to Arabic characters than to Jewish characters; whereas Arabic students attributed both more hostility and more dangerousness to Jewish characters.
Discussion: Although SW students report relatively high levels of perceived Multiculturalism Education, such results may be due to social desirability. The results of the current study raise major concerns regarding the effectiveness of current efforts at multicultural education, both formal and informal. It seems that despite all the efforts, SW students tend to preserve their basic untrusting attitudes and beliefs regarding the other ethnic group.