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(Beer-Sheva, Israel, Jan. 13, 2021)—Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Cyprus will offer a joint online course in Greek and Hebrew for the 2021 spring semester. The course will focus on the history of diplomatic relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece from the late 1940s to the present. It is the first time Israeli academia is offering such a course. B’nai B’rith International is sponsoring the course as part of its efforts to connect public officials, academics and others from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the Greek expatriate community in the United States. 

“Over the last decade, the State of Israel, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus have created collaborations in a variety of areas. An academic course that reflects the significance and potential of these collaborations fits neatly into B’nai B’rith’s policy to connect communities,” said Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem. “B’nai B’rith’s participation in this initiative came about through the Israel-Hellenic Forum we founded. The founding conference was held in Jerusalem a year ago with the participation of leading public officials from the three countries.” 

The goal of the course will be to delve into the mutual past, understand the countries’ foreign policies and acquire the necessary skills to advance Israeli-Cypriot relations. The students will learn about the major issues through primary sources — official documents, diplomatic reports, and Israeli, Greek and Cypriot newspaper articles. The spring semester course will be a pilot program and if it is a success, future collaborations will be planned. 

The University of Cyprus is the oldest public university on the island. 

Professor Paula Kabalo, director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute said, “It is time for Cyprus to fully embody what it really means to us — the good neighbor to the west. The one we could always count on. The one who shares a climate, culture and historical experiences. The good neighbor that you do not just knock on the door to ask for a glass of milk but one with which you share your life. We hope that this unique course will lead to additional varied collaborations.” 

The course will be led by Dr. Gabriel Haritos, who speaks Greek and Hebrew fluently. Haritos is a postdoctoral researcher at the Azrieli Center for Israel Studies at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism on BGU’s Sde Boker campus. 

“Despite the close geographic proximity and the coexistence between Jews and Greeks for hundreds of years, this is perhaps the first time that the Israeli and Cypriot academies are collaborating to illuminate the recent history of diplomatic relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece. There is no doubt that we will go far thanks to this pioneering spirit,” Haritos said.

B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit