Israeli, Rome universities sign cooperation pact


ROME (JTA) — Tel Aviv University and Rome’s Sapienza University signed a wide-ranging cooperation agreement at a ceremony in which the mayor of Rome censured Israel Apartheid Week.

The agreement, which foresees exchanges of students and professors, as well as joint research projects and master’s programs, was signed March 4 at Rome’s Campidoglio City Hall.

The ceremony took place as part of a gala dinner hosted by Rome Mayor Gianno Alemanno for participants in Tel Aviv University’s 19th European Conference, which was held in Rome.

During remarks at the dinner, Alemanno "firmly condemned" the Israel Apartheid Week protests under way at some international universities, including in Italy.

"Rome and Tel Aviv can work together to reinforce a culture of peace along the shores of the Mediterranean," he said.

Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter told Rome’s Il Foglio newspaper that the timing of the agreement with La Sapienza was important.

"Generally these accords are rather common, but against the background of Apartheid Week, it has quite a different impact," he said. 

Some academics have called for a boycott of Israeli universities.

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