“Israel’s MIT” Has Become a Model for Jewish-Arab Coexistence

Dec. 10 2014

The percentage of Arab students at the Technion, Israel’s prestigious science and engineering university, has tripled over the past quarter-century, bringing it into line with the proportion of Arabs in the general population. Many of these students are women, and they are not only matriculating, but graduating. Peter Coy explains how this came to be:

How did Arabs manage to gain such a solid foothold at the Technion? One factor . . . is a network of excellent private schools for Arabs. Many are run by Arab Christians but are open to Muslims as well. The Israeli government has provided funding to those schools based on attendance, similar to voucher systems in the U.S. Education is seen as a pathway out of poverty by many Arab Christians.

Jewish philanthropists including Benny and Patsy Landa helped kick the Technion’s efforts into a higher gear about a decade ago. . . . Other philanthropists have since made donations. The Higher Education Council of Israel added support as well, mostly over the past five years.

Read more at Business Week

More about: Education, Haifa, Israeli Arabs, Technion


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount