Israeli and Pontifical Universities Eye Joint Projects

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ROME, JUNE 13, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The rectors of four pontifical universities visited Israel to build academic and cultural bridges, and, in the long term, to contribute to peace in the Holy Land.



An "unprecedented" initiative is how Oded Ben-Hur, ambassador of Israel to the Holy See, and Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University, described the June 1-4 visit.

The other rectors involved were Father Franco Imoda of the Gregorian University, Father Mariano Fazio of the University of the Holy Cross, and Monsignor Giuseppe Cavallotto of the Urban University.

The rectors made contacts at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Universities of Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan.

"The common desire is to do something truly concrete, presenting all our reciprocal cultural wealth," Bishop Fisichella said last Thursday, as reported by the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

The next step will be to return the invitation to the Israeli colleagues, and to try to identify some shared topics on which mixed teams can work, including the possibility of joint publications.

Ben-Hur said he thinks that an endeavor of this kind "can and must serve to disseminate greater reciprocal knowledge between Catholics and Jews of Israel."