TEL AVIV (Feb. 22)
Israel and Egypt have finally begun the cultural and academic exchanges called for in their 1979 peace treaty, nearly a decade after it was signed.
A joint seminar on the history of the Jewish people, its culture and heritage opened Monday in Cairo. Participants include Israeli and Egyptian intellectuals, academics and researchers.
The seminar was organized by the Israel Academic Center in Cairo, headed by Prof. Asher Ovadia, in cooperation with the Shorashim (Roots) association, which operates under the auspices of Israel’s Ministry of Education and Culture.
Elazar Straum, director general of Shorashim, called the seminar a “breakthrough” and the beginning of a dialogue between the two peoples on a cultural and social plane.
The opening lectures of the seminar are being conducted in Hebrew by Israeli delegates, followed by a general discussion. The seminar is meeting Monday and will meet again on Wedneday.
The Israeli delegation includes Professor Avi Ravitsky, Dr. Hananel Mack, Avraham Burg and Israel Cohen.
They will discuss the influence of Islam on Jewish creativity in the Middle Ages and Jewish identity in the modern era.
The seminar will be followed by a study tour of Egypt, conducted by Shorashim, for about 30 Israeli participants.