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Egyptians Show High Interest In Israeli Literature, Culture

Jacky Hugi writes that the study of the Hebrew language and its literature is widespread in Cairo's universities.
A general view shows Al-Azhar University, which was founded in the 10th century through the endowment of a charitable trust, or awqaf, in Cairo March 19, 2013. The endowments, known as awqaf, receive donations from Muslims to operate specific social projects, such as mosques, schools and welfare schemes. The system goes back more than a thousand years, to soon after the birth of Islam. A fund management venture set up in Dubai this month is taking aim at one of the great backwaters of the Middle Eastern eco
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The growing tension in Jerusalem-Cairo relations, particularly since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, is absent from Egyptian academic circles. Political hostility apart, on Egyptian campuses and among the intelligentsia, Israel is considered an object of interest and evokes much curiosity, something that would certainly surprise many Israelis.

Nine of the 14 state universities in Egypt, including Al-Azhar Islamic University, have Hebrew departments. Close to 20,000 students study Hebrew at these universities at any given point in time, most in colleges of Middle Eastern Studies. Each year, at least 2,000 students graduate with bachelor's degrees that include the study of Hebrew.

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