JERUSALEM, Israel -- Texas A&M University plans to open a campus in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth -- the boyhood home of Jesus. It's the first time ever a leading American university plans to open a branch in Israel.
The announcement came this week at Israeli President Shimon Peres' residence in Jerusalem. Former presidential hopeful and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took part in the signing ceremony.
Dubbed a "Peace University," it will be situated in Israel's largest Arab city, which also has the biggest Arab Christian population.
"Let me express my hope that you will serve the people, their spirit, to answer a new age, to help bring a new future," Peres said.
"The State of Israel and the State of Texas share a deep respect for our culture, and this university will be a permanent reminder of the power of education to change the lives of people forever in line for the vision of our government," A&M University Chancellor John Sharp said.
Sharp said the school's staff will be Jewish and Arab and the student body diverse, though all Israeli universities have mixed Jewish, Arab, and international student bodies and faculties.
According to Peres' office, Texas A&M said it will raise $70 million for construction of the new campus.