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Christian Zionists Bring ‘The Word,’ and Higher Education to Israeli Palestinian Heartland

Just when I thought I’d brought some of the wackiest, most improbable stories from the soap opera that is latter-day Israel, a new one comes along.  This one is a whopper.

Nazareth academic institute

West Bank oil billionaire’s weird flying buttress graces groundbreaking for Nazareth Academic Institute

Nazareth is the heartland of Israel’s Palestinian community.  It is a town comprising Muslims and Christians living in a guarded, but generally peaceful co-existence.  There is also a largely Jewish Upper Nazareth, run by an avowedly racist Jewish mayor who’s under a legal-ethical cloud, indicted for taking bribes.  Given that the national government refuses to fund in Palestinian areas the typical amenities it regularly funds in Jewish communities, there is no state-funded college or university there.  In fact, the community founded the Nazareth Academic Institute that grants degrees in two fields, but the state couldn’t manage to find anything in its budget for the institution.  This despite the fact that it recently upgraded the education status of Ariel College to a full-fledged university despite the overwhelming opposition of every major university in the country.

Now, a consortium of Christian Zionist Islamophobes, local Palestinian educators and politicians, a Fatah-friendly oil billionaire, and the Israel Council for Higher Education, has quietly (until now) colluded to bring Texas A&M University to Nazareth.  They will assume control of the existing institute, change its name to “Peace University” (I kid you not), and create the first foreign university campus in Israel.  The other place where this school has a foreign campus is (where else?) Qatar.

Texas A&M’s Military-Intelligence Role

Texas A&M is also one of six U.S. “Senior Military Colleges.”  Its corps of cadets is one of the largest uniformed student bodies outside the service academies.  Many members serve in ROTC and earn officer commissions armed forces on graduation.  It is basically a feeder school for the U.S. military.  I can imagine some of those Texas A&M future officers taking courses at Peace U in Arabic language and culture before deploying to assignments in the Middle East.  So much more comfortable studying in a friendly setting (Israel) than doing so in places like Cairo or Beirut where so many unpleasant things can happen to an American.

I could also see Israeli Mossad agents studying in Nazareth.  After all, the Shabak and Mossad have trained their agents in Israeli Palestinian villages in order to prepare them for operations either in the Occupied Territories or hostile Arab nations.

It’s important to note that a local Greek Orthodox priest has been lauded by Netanyahu for recruiting Christian youth to enlist in the IDF.  Imagine the Israeli military-security apparatus seeing in “Peace U” a fertile ground for recruiting Palestinian officers and security agents?  That too should go over very well with the local community!  It’s also worth noting that Nazareth’s (Christian) Mayor Ramiz Jaraisi has gone to court to locate the supposedly missing votes of three dozen Palestinian Christians serving in the IDF.

The Israeli government and military favors any potential ethnic or religious division among the Israeli Palestinian population.  That’s why it encourages splits between Christians and Muslims.  The more the political power of the Muslim majority can be attenuated, the weaker the forces of Palestinian nationalism.  Hence the weaker the challenge to Jewish domination of the State.

Israeli Education as Branding Opportunity

I spent twelve years in graduate and undergraduate studies at five universities.  They were not “brands” in those days.   They were centers of higher learning.  The idea of branding an institution as “Peace University” would’ve been derided as a bastardization of the mission of higher education.  Nowadays schools, especially those outside the top rank like Texas A&M (ranked 69th among national universities by U.S. News), need a “hook” to promote their brand.  So Nazareth will be the “peace” brand.  It doesn’t matter that Texas A&M has virtually no reputation in the field of peace studies, political science or Middle East studies.  It doesn’t matter that the school has probably given no thought to how it will realize it’s mission to advance peace.  It’s not even clear the new school can offer an engineering degree, which is the only degree worth much that Texas A&M offers!  It’s all cynicism, hucksterism, and hocus pocus.  The only victims of this are the good people of Nazareth, who were promised a silk purse and got a sow’s ear.  Presumably, Peres and Trajtenberg expect the Palestinians of Galilee to bow and scrape and say: “thank you massa” for the educational crumbs they’re offered.

rick perry shimon peres

Gov. Rick Perry promises a doddering Pres. Shimon Peres that Texas A&M will bring educational enlightenment to Israel’s “Arabs” (Sebastian Scheiner/ AP)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Sees Hasbara Opportunity
The director general of the ministry’s hasbara effort saw the equivalent of a goose laying a golden egg in the project:

Meir said the existing high-tech, research and development industries in Israel combined with Texas A&M will help foster economic growth in the region.

“Our vision is to have a Silicon Valley there,” Meir said.

Meir said it would take a highly-ranked and established university like A&M to achieve the ambitious goals for the project. He said the campus will not only help relations between the different demographics in Israel, but also further the bond between Israel and Texas.  “It’s a special relationship between our governments, which value democracy, peace, understanding and culture,” Meir said. “We’re talking the same language.”

What do you think “furthering the bond between Texas and Israel” could mean, aside from deepening Israel’s alliances with the Christian Zionist universe represented by Hagee and Friends?  As for establishing a Silicon Valley in Galilee: I can just see that boast becoming part of Israel’s vaunted hasbara sloganeering.

Finally, why would any serious university allow a legitimate academic effort to become part of a country’s hasbara apparatus?

Christian Zionists Hagee and Perry’s Key Role Facilitating Project

Who participated in this consortium?  Pride of place goes to John Hagee, the international Christian Zionist apocalyptic firebrand who blamed the Jewish victims of the Holocaust for their own martyrdom.  Hagee, an avid proselytizer of the heathen, also is known as an avowed Islamophobe.  Presumably he’s delighted to plop a U.S. Christian Zionist university in the middle of tens of thousands of Israeli Palestinian Muslims.  One wonders whether Hagee and his followers would play some role in the institution and use it as a base for preaching to the “heathen.”

Another participant was former Texas governor, Rick Perry, a Christian Zionist perennial presidential candidate.  He used a recent political pilgrimage to Israel to announce the deal with a flourish together with Israel’s nonagenarian president, Shimon Peres.  It’s no accident that Texas A&M’s chancellor was a college roommate of Rick Perry.  Though not an evangelical (he’s Catholic), he uses the Christian Zionist lingo when he boasts of his “kinship” with Israel.

The Texas university has pledged to raise $70-million to finance the project, which seems achievable with the help of Hagee and a plethora of wealthy evangelical Texans seeking to advance the Rapture.

Israeli Education Bureacracy’s Faux Support for Palestinian Higher Ed

The final deal was sealed during a lunch between the Texas A&M chancellor and the lead player from the Council for Higher Education, Manuel Trajtenberg:

The project took shape when Sharp visited Israel earlier this year and had lunch with Manuel Trajtenberg, an economist who has chaired the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel for about four years. In that role, Trajtenberg has worked to increase access to higher education for, among other groups, the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities.

“There is no major academic institution in any Arab city or town within Israel,” he observed in an interview with the Tribune.

Sharp’s desire to set up shop in the region since shortly after assuming the chancellorship in 2011 complemented Trajtenberg’s desire to address this problem…

…Over the course of their meal they narrowed in on Nazareth, a predominantly Arab city, as the location. “It really was a meeting of the minds,” Trajtenberg said. “Really a great coincidence. He came with the general idea of doing something in Israel, but he wasn’t aware of our efforts in that direction.”

Note carefully, a series of specious statements offered by Trajtenberg in this passage.  He claims he’s worked to open educational opportunities for Haredim and Palestinians.  I’ve never heard or read a shred of evidence to support this.  In fact, his Council rubber-stamped the Likudist government’s elevation of the settler institution, Ariel College to university status.  Thus increasing educational opportunities for settlers.

Further evidence contradicting the two-faced Israeli academic is this statement from the Institute’s president:

NAI’s president, Prof. George Kanaza, told Haaretz three years ago that the Council for Higher Education even conditioned the institution’s accreditation on a promise not to apply for state funding. “Apparently, the CHE hoped we would expire from lack of funds,” he told Haaretz at the time.

Further, the Israeli academician touts Texas A&M as a godsend-solution for an Israeli problem: the lack of higher education for Palestinians.  But he neglects to address the scandalous refusal of the Israeli government to offer such opportunities to its own Palestinian citizens.  For him, it’s terribly convenient for an American university to do for the Arab minority what the nation has refused to do for them.

Peace U: Look Ma, No Arabs!

Finally, you’ll note that the deal was sealed between an American Christian educator and Israeli Jewish academic deal-maker.  What’s missing from this picture?  Do you see an Israeli Palestinian anywhere in sight?  No, because they’re deemed insignificant to the overall project.  Perhaps they even know Palestinians might boycott the project, which in turn would allow it to become yet another Jewish university.  This is the epitome of a condescending colonial attitude.

Haneen Zoabi reports to me that Mayor Jaraisi not only knew about what was called in the Arab press, the “Arab University,” he touted it in his campaign as one of his main achievements.  To which I can only reply: what was he thinking? Joining together with right-wing American Christians to bring this institution, and place it in the middle of one of Israel’s largest Muslim populations–it boggles the mind.   Zoabi also says that the story of this project was covered in the local Arab press as a positive development, with no discussion of the important implications I’ve outlined here.  It appears that the local population were treated either as dupes or irrelevant to the overall project.

Haaretz notes that the Palestinian staff of the Nazareth Institute seem pleased with the new arrangement.  After all, they will be elevated from an academic backwater to a branch of a respected (though second-rate) U.S. academic institution:

“We hoped and wanted to be an Israeli academic institution in every respect, not a branch [of a foreign university,]” said NAI’s dean of students, Soher Bsharat. “But when we didn’t find a budgeting solution, and ran into many problems, we saw that cooperation with Texas, which is a respected university, was a solution.”

The project was announced with great fanfare and the participation of Pres. Shimon Peres and Gov. Perry the day after Israeli municipal elections, in which Nazareth’s incumbent mayor was running against two strong challengers, one of whom was Zoabi (only a few votes separate Mayor Jaraisi from his businessman-challenger).  The timing of the publicity event conveniently and cynically removed it as an election issue there.

Israel Lands Authority Expels Bedouin in Negev, But Manages to Find Land for Peace U

The new campus for this mongrel educational institution will sit on land donated by the Israeli Lands Authority.  No one mysteriously has identified where the site is located (if anyone in Nazareth knows, please contact me).  The ILA is the same institution that is working to expel Israel’s 40,000 Bedouin from their native Negev communities and move them to government-sponsored “reservations.”  This is also known as the infamous Prawer Plan.  This land transfer would enable the Judaization of the Negev, just as settlers are gradually expelling East Jerusalem Palestinians from their homes in neighborhoods like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.

Perhaps the crowning glory in all this is the identity of the Sugar Daddy who’s going to finance the construction of this munificent educational palace.  He is none other than Munib al-Masri, the wealthiest Palestinian in the world.  Numerous media profiles of him invariably feature his weirdly out-of-place Italian palazzo in the middle of the West Bank.  Al-Masri has a far-flung empire that includes a construction company that will likely undertake building the campus.  He is a key power player in the PA and Fatah and undoubtedly seeks to curry favor with Israel, which could lead to further business opportunities.

Chrisitan-Muslim Conflict in Nazareth

To add some historical background: some years ago the local Muslim community announced its intent to build a new mosque in the same town square where the Church of the Annunciation sits.  There were months of acrimony, protest, and riots over this encroachment by Muslims on what the local Christians perceived to be their holy ground.  The controversy only subsided when Muslims finally relented and put their plans in abeyance.

Now Texas-based Christians who, if they know anything about local conditions (which they may not), want to add to this combustible religious mix.  Their willing partners in this include an Israeli president and a Palestinian oil man/construction magnate, all seeking to build an institution promoting an ersatz liberal Zionist version of peaceful co-existence.

Possible Role of Peace U in Judaizing Galillee

Manuel Trajtenberg, a key player in the Israeli Council for Higher Education, which approves applications for all educational institutions, revealed another possible hidden intent of the university project.  If Israeli Palestinian students refuse to attend it, this does not mean the failure of the project by any means:

“Of course, we would appeal to potential students in the area, but also Jewish Israelis of all sorts, because we want that to be a multicultural place,” he said. “I suspect there will be a strong demand for this institution from students who would prefer to study in English and are comfortable in a multicultural environment.”

In other words, if Palestinians don’t come, then Jews will willingly take their place.  This is a significant statement because Israeli ultra-nationalists have set their sights on “Judaizing” all of the territory within Israel with significant Arab populations including the Negev, Galilee, and East Jerusalem.  This is part of a covert attempt to expel Palestinians through attrition.  Trajtenberg is tacitly putting Nazareth further into play in this battle by suggesting that Israeli Jews from around the country may find attractive the opportunity to pursue English-language studies at a low-cost American university.  In such a way, Texas A&M could become an advertent or inadvertent participant in this far-right campaign toward a Jewish majority in the Galilee.

Besides all this, there is an even more critical issue: why does the State of Israel have to turn to a second-rate U.S. university to do for its Palestinian community what the State itself refuses to do?  This is truly a scandal.  Not only has the government virtually abandoned higher education for its Jewish population, where budgets have been heavily slashed, it has now orphaned Palestinian students seeking a university education.

To be clear, Israel’s largely Jewish institutions do accept small numbers of Palestinian students, but they are far below the percentage in the overall population.  There is no state-sponsored Palestinian education institution, as there are multiple Jewish ones throughout the country.

This borderline crazy plan was devised by a country that has abandoned its Palestinian population.  Accepting Texas A&M as a partner is a tacit admission that the nation either cannot or will not treat its Palestinian minority in the same way its treats the Jewish majority.  It is yet another nail in the coffin of the concept, espoused in the Israeli Declaration of Independence, of Jewish-Arab equality in a democratic Israeli state.

Jonathan Cook, who lives in the Galilee, wrote an excellent post about this story.

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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Deïr Yassin October 26, 2013, 3:53 PM

    Another article by Jonathan Cook from July 31 on a related topic:
    “Israeli army recruitment plan aims to incite Christian-Muslim tension”
    Extract: “A Christian in Nazareth whose brother is an official in the defense ministry announced the establishment of a Christian-Jewish party (….). The movement, which also runs an enlistment to encourage Christians to serve in the army, has paired with far-right Jewish group, Im Tirzu”.
    http://www.electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-army-recruitment-plan-aims-incite-christian-muslim-tensions/12645

  • pabelmont October 26, 2013, 4:05 PM

    I read good things about the Pope Pope Francis. Perhaps he could find it within his “brief” to call Christians to a consious and conscientious examination of their relations with Israel. I think Francis would not be a cheerleader for ANY imperialism. Not even Israel’s.

  • Bellerphone October 26, 2013, 7:23 PM

    Sorry i fail to understand what do you care ?
    The local Palestinian groups are happy about the opportunity with the exception of Hanin Zouabi who was defeated in the last election, which means her point of view isn’t a credible one in the eyes of the Palestinian community.
    You from your home in lake Seattle without speaking a word of Arabic, knows better then the community what’s good for it’s member ?

    • Richard Silverstein October 26, 2013, 9:12 PM

      @ Bellerphone:

      Sorry i fail to understand

      That’s the truest thing you’ve written here.

      My, isn’t it interesting an alleged Iranian is speaking on behalf of Nazareth’s Palestinians. And you know their level of receptivity to the plan how?? As for whether my perspective or Zoabi’s are “credible” or not, I’d prefer not allowing you to be the judge. In fact, I’ve consulted with a number of local Palestinians who each tell me they knew little or nothing about it and were shocked to learn the news.

      My home isn’t “in lake Seattle.” It’s on dry land, thank God. The lake isn’t called “Seattle” either.

      If I did know Arabic it wouldn’t help reporting this story since the local Arabic language media reported the project as entirely positive development for the community. This is a perfect example of where an outsider can offer an important perspective the local community may not know or have.

      I don’t know “what’s good” for the Palestinians of Nazareth. But I sure as hell know that neither you nor Shimon Peres nor Manual Trajtenberg do either. So I’d rather expose the story and allow the Palestinians to decide how to proceed from there.

      • Bellerphone October 27, 2013, 5:21 AM

        You never reported on the story, you covered it with your opinions which turned it into a very negative development.
        The story is that a higher education institute is building a campus in Nazareth, period.
        You without knowing what the acceptance requirements would be, without knowing what’s the number of Palestinians students would be, object the development.

        Why ? Is it your interest to keep people uneducated ?

      • Bellerphone October 27, 2013, 5:18 PM

        @ Silverstein
        I fail to see why you say “has quietly (until now) colluded to bring Texas A&M University to Nazareth”

        You published this story on 10/26/2013. On 10/22/2013 Haaretz aired the same story, So did Ynet (on the 23) So did the Daily Beast, the Jpost, the Times of Israel, The NYT aired it on October 21 (who stated the involved parties including Pestor Hagee), Jspace.com, Globes, I24news TV station, Algeminer, upi.com, JNS.org and others.
        All published it days before you did.

        I understand you want’s to get scoops but a simple google search using the term “new university in nazareth” reveals the source of your article.

        Plagiarism is a serious ethical violation. As a blogger who demand respect from your readers and other media outlets, you sure don’t respond in kind.

        • Richard Silverstein October 27, 2013, 5:28 PM

          @ Bellerphone: Do you think the plans for the university happened over the course of four days, from Oct 22-26th?? No, the collaborators have been planning this for a long time. During all this time no one, excepting the Arab press, reported on it (hence my use of the term “quietly”). In the Arab press, they touted the project to the Palestinian community as the “Arab University,” when it will NOT be a Palestinian university. It will be an American university in Israel educating Israeli citizens some of whom happen to be Palestinian. Texas A&M, an evangelical-based school will focus on its own religious heritage and derogate anything other, especially Islam. Though perhaps it will have to respect Judaism since Israeli Jewish officials are responsible for regulating it.

          In other words, all the parties hid from the Palestinian community the true nature of the institution that was planned (hence the phrase “quietly colluded”). That’s why I call the entire project a fraud, or at least based on fraudulent behavior.

          If you use the term ‘plagiarism’ in connection with my work again, you’ll be banned pronto. Besides, you’re incredibly ignorant and don’t even understand the meaning of the term. I have NEVER plagiarized. Never. Don’t you dare go there. Ever. I consider use of that term a major comment rule violation. You will be moderated & your comments approved if they don’t violate the rules.

          • Bellerphone: October 27, 2013, 5:43 PM

            @ Silverstein This is nonsense * 10. The Nazzarath college
            opened its doors in 2003, as a branch of the Indianapolis U. The
            programs included degrees in Chemistry & computer science .
            (very sloppy research work, my ability to use google translate is
            much better then yours apparently) You think that Chemistry
            & Computer science for Arabs is different then the subject
            taught to non Arabs ? Get real.

          • Richard Silverstein October 28, 2013, 5:11 PM

            @ Bellerphone: Your claims are mostly false. But let’s clarify the truth.

            The Institute was founded in 2003 and named Mar Elias in honor of Bishop Elias Chacour. It was affiliated with (but not a branch of) a very small private Methodist school called the University of Indianapolis. The University withdrew its affiliation in 2009 & Mar Elias changed its name to the Nazareth Institute. It has been independent and financially unsupported since then.

            As far as I can tell, this is either a lie or based on faulty information. The Nazareth Institute was portrayed in Haaretz as INDEPENDENT, with no reference to it being a branch of anything. Second, there is no such institution as “Indianapolis University.” Third, there may’ve been some sort of reciprocal relationship between this school & Nazareth. But reciprocity is not the same as being a branch.

          • Bob Mann October 28, 2013, 6:45 PM

            However, in 2003, the University of Indianapolis, a private Methodist school, opened an Israeli branch campus named Mar Elias. The University of Indianapolis broke ties with the university in 2009. Mar Elias officials moved the institute from the village of Ibillin to Nazareth, and changed the university’s name to the Nazareth Academic Institute, or NAI.

            http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_292b9d58-97ae-5d35-b7eb-f3f04820df83.html?mode=jqm

          • Oui October 28, 2013, 7:27 PM

            Important for Palestinians

            The Israeli government on March 29, 2009 sanctioned the establishment of Mar Elias University, which has operated since 2003 as the Nazareth-Galilee Academic Institution and served as a Middle East campus of the University of Indianapolis.

            While open to students of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, the new university will have special importance for Palestinian Muslims and Christians in Israel, who have lacked an Arabic-speaking institution of higher education. David Wildman, the Global Ministries executive who relates to Middle East issues, explained:

            With no Arab colleges in Israel, and strictly segregated primary and secondary schools, either Hebrew or Arabic, Palestinians who are citizens of Israel have had few choices for higher education. They must go to the West Bank, which is difficult or impossible, or go abroad, which is very expensive and possibly leads to emigration, or they must study at a Hebrew-speaking college in Israel. Now they have an option in Arabic which will greatly expand the potential for study for the 20 percent of Israel’s citizens who are Arab.

            Using the present accreditation of NAI, the A&M branch will be English speaking and hiring it’s own staff in the reform.

          • Oui October 28, 2013, 7:29 PM

            Peace Campus meant to build on previous venture by U.S. university with related documents, a letter from Chancellor John Sharp.

          • Richard Silverstein October 28, 2013, 11:13 PM

            Thanks! Nice to separate fact from hasbara fiction.

  • Davey October 26, 2013, 10:05 PM

    This story concentrates many repellant worlds including the foreign colonial mentality regarding the indigenous “natives,” who need book-learning of the right kind (“peace”), the Jewish-Israeli conceit that they are the only lords of this land and can dispense it as they see fit, and the Christian Zionist enthusiasm for proselytizing widely and throwing money after Israel’s bad behavior in the name of …of…what? The End of Days! And American politicians from, where else?, Texas doing a “come to Jesus” with the likes of Shimon Peres. I can’t think of this as the “banality of evil”, not given this mix.

    • Bob Mann October 27, 2013, 8:13 AM

      I can’t make any sense of this comment. Is there any way you can rephrase it in clearer language?

  • Oui October 27, 2013, 10:53 AM

    High above Nazareth, an Israeli mayor wants to keep his city Jewish ‘now and forever’

    They are welcome here, the mayor says, as long as they remember one very important rule. “This is a Jewish city,” said Shimon Gafsou of his adopted home town, “now and forever.”

    To be more specific: “I would rather cut off my right arm than build an Arab school,” the mayor said in an interview on his terrace at city hall.

    Ditto mosques. “No, no, no. No mosques, ever,” Gafsou said. No churches. Or Ramadan lanterns or manger scenes. “And no Christmas trees,” said the mayor of a town that abuts the largest Arab city in Israel, celebrated as the childhood home of Jesus.

    “Everyone can live here, that is the law, as long as they understand this is a Jewish city,” Gafsou said. “And in that way we are a microcosm of the state of Israel.” He said that “95 percent of Jewish mayors think the same thing. They’re just afraid to say so out loud.”

    … Israel guarantees its Arab citizens full and equal rights. But report after report documents the fact that spending for Arab citizens is lower, on average, in education, housing, business development and other areas.

    Nazareth Illit is a classic Israeli “development,” or new town, built with government support starting in the 1950s as a home for Jews on expropriated lands, according to historians.

    Ali Salam claims victory over incumbent Ramiz Jaraisi in Nazareth mayor race

  • amspirnational October 27, 2013, 11:21 AM

    The story certainly begs more questions than answers. But then I favor the One State Solution, right of return to all, no rabbinical law, no shariah law.
    In the arena of all American educational institutions, you really shouldn’t call Texas A&M second rate.

    • Richard Silverstein October 27, 2013, 5:37 PM

      @ amspirnational: US News ranks it 69th of all “national universities.” That’s definitely a mid-level ranking. Certainly not 3rd rate, but not first rate either. The Times Higher Education Supplement ranked it 169th internationally. I haven’t checked, but its engineering program would be much higher ranked. But that is only one program and, as I wrote, might not even be offered as a degree in Nazareth (if the school ever happens).

  • strangefriend October 27, 2013, 12:40 PM

    I hate to admit this, but as a resident of Texas, I know Rick Perry is still the Governor.

    • Bob Mann October 27, 2013, 12:53 PM

      Thankfully, it appears that he is retiring at the end of his current term.

    • Richard Silverstein October 27, 2013, 5:29 PM

      @ strangefriend: Thanks for that correction. I thought Perry had already resigned to run for Pres.

  • strangefriend October 27, 2013, 6:44 PM

    Texas A&M isn’t an evangelical school, unless you want call the Aggie Corp evangelicals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_A&M_University I think Rick Perry & John Sharp will live to regret this whole ‘A&M Nazareth’ idea. The only upside i see to this is that Israeli Palestinians wil learn Aggie jokes.

    There were three Aggies huddled around each other at a local bar. All of a sudden, they jumped up and yelled,
    “Yeah, 45! 45!” The bartender goes down to them and asks, “45? What are you guys so excited about?”
    One of the Aggies speaks up: “We just finished a jigsaw puzzle. The box said 2 to 3 years, and we did it in 45 days!”

    How do you drive an Aggie crazy? Put him in a round room & tell him there’s a $100 in the corner.

    Did you hear about the skeleton they found in a closet in one of the dorms at A&M?
    It was the 1963 hide-and-go-seek champion!

    Did you hear about the Aggie who won a gold medal at the Olympics?
    He liked it so much that he decided to get it bronzed.

    Why did the Aggie get fired from the M&M plant as a quality control inspector?
    He kept throwing out all the W&W’s!
    etc.

    • Richard Silverstein October 28, 2013, 5:20 PM

      Hilarious!

      I didn’t intend to say that Texas A&M was officially evangelical like Oral Roberts or a Bible college. I meant to say that all the key Texas players including Sharp, Hagee & Perry are imbued with the evangelical fervor to spread the good news to the heathen Arabs. I also believe evangelism will inform the new school, either in the curriculum or campus activities. Can you not imagine Hagee & his fellow ministers preaching to the student body during their pilgrimages to the Holy Land?

  • amspirnational October 28, 2013, 5:09 PM

    http://www.tamu.edu/about/top-programs.html More
    importantly, please keep your readers aware of the Palestinian
    consensus on this. The eschatology of “Christian” Zionists is
    heretical from a traditional Christian point of view. It sanctions
    continuing dispossession of Palestinians, by saying, in effect, it
    is God’s will that, for example, an atheist Brooklyn Jew with no
    historic ties to the land, “return” to that land (in some cases
    actually dispossesing a Palestinian Christian, ironically) …to
    facilitate the second coming of Christ.

    • Richard Silverstein October 28, 2013, 5:25 PM

      I’m not saying Texas A&M doesn’t have some highly ranked programs. It is respected in engineering, agriculture, & some technical fields. I’m saying that its OVERALL ranking is second tier.

  • george espanyili October 31, 2013, 11:31 PM

    http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=24217
    But, in a recent interview with Israeli media, Father Gabriel Nadaf, one of leaders of this new movement, said it was wrong to classify local Christians as Arabs, since the Christian community in the Holy Land far predates the Arab Muslim conquest.

    • Richard Silverstein November 1, 2013, 10:28 AM

      @ George Espanylili: Yes, let’s stop calling Palestinian Christians “Arabs” and start calling them ‘Zionists,’ shall we? (irony alert)

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