New University in Israel to Promote Religious Peace

JERUSALEM, SEPT. 4, 2003 ( A university dedicated to improving Arab-Israeli relations is scheduled to open soon, offering a glimmer of hope in the troubled Mideast.

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The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need reported that when it opens in October, the Mar Elias University will become the first-ever Christian, Arab and Israeli university in the Middle East.

An initiative of the Melkite Catholics, the university will meet a vital need for a serious academic environment where Arab Palestinian Christians, Moslems, Druzes and Jewish Israelis will have the opportunity to study, plan and search together for a common future. International students will also be welcomed.

Father Elias Shakour, a Catholic priest who promotes better ecumenical relations in the Mideast, passed on the news of the school to the charity.

Official accreditation has been granted by the Council of Higher Education of the Israeli Ministry of Education. Courses will be offered primarily in English, with some courses offered in Arabic and Hebrew.

The provisional campus is in Ibillin, in the Galilee, where the Melkites already have an educational complex.

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