JERUSALEM (Dec. 21)
An unusual Arab-Jewish fraternal get-together, held recently at the Hebrew University’s Adult Education Centre here, marked the opening of the fourth academic year of its Arab-Jewish cultural project. The event was attended by more than 600 guests, including 350 Arabs from East Jerusalem and an additional 50 Israeli Arabs from Haifa. According to a university spokesman this was the first time that Arabs from East Jerusalem had attended a function at the Hebrew University to such a large extent. Jewish and Arabic participants at the gathering noted that the successful event indicated that the two peoples could indeed peacefully co-exist. The Arab-Jewish cultural project was instituted just after the Six-Day War. This year, under its auspices, 250 Arabs from East Jerusalem are being taught the Arabic language.
Greetings were brought to the gathering by Kalman Yaron, Director of the Adult Education Centre and prime mover of the project. In his remarks to the audience Yaron stated “We do not limit ourselves only to language teaching, as this is only a means for fostering better understanding, but this year have established a club in the framework of our activities where people from the two communities can meet each other socially in informal talks.” Also addressing the gathering was Ahmed Shanti, an Arabic school teacher from East Jerusalem who spoke on behalf of the University’s Arab students. He mentioned the “Golden Age” of Spain in the Middle Ages – the blossoming period of the Arab and Jewish culture, which inspired the two people in creating great poetry and scientific achievements. Shanti said that he believed that it is possible that such a cultural and social renaissance may come about in our generation.