As part of Israel's summer programme allowing Arab families in Jordan to visit relatives on the Israeli side, a group of Arab students visited the Tel Aviv area recently.
As part of Israel's summer programme allowing Arab families in Jordan to visit relatives on the Israeli side, a group of Arab students visited the Tel Aviv area recently. Among the places they visited were an Israeli Kibbutz, Tel University, and the Israeli sea-side.
This year 50-thousand visitors have visited Israel by means of the scheme, and the students are particularly welcomed by the Israelis, who are anxious to counter the effects of Arab propaganda.
Probably the young Arabs' most startling experiences were at the Kibbutz An Shemer, where they were shown a distinctively Israeli way of life. Among the preconceptions some brought with them was the notion that free-love was part of the communal way of living. Denials that this was so did not always convince.
The young Arab also had their own opinions about Tel Aviv University. One claimed it was nearly ten times more expensive than their own Arab colleges, and others complained that there were few Arab students -- 50 out of 4,500 Jewish students.
Central Tel Aviv also made a considerable impression on them. They found it a bustling modern city, full of tourists, showing little signs of a nation at war.
On the beaches too, they found a care-free atmosphere, with the Israelis at play as vigorous as they are at work. The Israelis hope they will take a favourable impression of a confident, hopeful nation back to their Universities and colleges.