Israeli President Shimon Peres, Education Minister Shay Piron and Texas Governor Rick Perry recently signed an agreement to establish a "Peace Campus" in the northern Israel Arab city of Nazareth.
The campus will be a branch of Texas A&M University, one of the top research institutions in the world. It is the first time a leading foreign research university has opened a campus in Israel.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Peres said, "Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, as well as the birthplace of Jesus. It is a city committed to spiritual values, and so is a fitting location for a major university campus intended for students of all faiths."
Peres said the fact that the campus will be a branch of such a prestigious institution is "groundbreaking," and will help to close social gaps by providing a higher education level to both Jews and Arabs.
Piron added that education is one of the keys to promoting peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs, as well as helping the large Arab population in northern Israel to better integrate into broader Israeli society.
Governor Perry noted that "Israel and Texas A&M University are a great match, both built on family values, commitment and tradition."
The new campus will cost an estimated $70 million and is scheduled to open in October 2015.