More than 10 Egyptian Universities currently offer Hebrew courses, usually as part of Oriental Language faculties that also teach Turkish and Persian.
Two major Egyptian universities, Ain Shams University and al-Azhar University, even boast a separate Hebrew language faculty. This is a major accomplishment, especially in universities that are considered bastions of strong anti-Israel sentiments.
One Hebrew lecturer, an Egyptian that has never visited Israel, recently told an Israeli diplomat that he teaches his students Hebrew through “Ha'Gashash Ha'chiver” comedy skits and Israeli music.
The lecturer even asked the Israeli diplomat for new movies to show his students, stressing that they must show absolutely no sex or nudity, or he could be charged with corrupting his students with Israeli pornography.
State officials explained that this burgeoning interest in the Hebrew language stems mostly from Egyptian curiosity, but also of a keen desire to “know the enemy”. Many students are sent to Hebrew studies programs by Egyptian intelligence, who frown upon students who study Hebrew of their own initiative.
Students who attend the Israeli academic Center or frequent the Israeli embassy in Cairo are likewise harassed by security personnel, who incessantly question them and often warn them not to return. Those few students brave enough to attend Hebrew lecturers are deemed highly courageous.