Iraqis are studying Hebrew at Baghdad University.
I find this especially interesting since my Hebrew teacher is from an Iraqi family.
The sooner the Arab states learn to accept that one of the non-Arab peoples is independent of their rule, the sooner we will have peace in the middle-east. Recognition of "the other" is an important step in the right direction.
Wearing an elegant pink headscarf, Marwa Abdel Karim serenades her fellow Baghdad University students with a heartfelt rendition of "Filled With Love," remarkable for the language in which it is sung – Hebrew.
She is one of the 150 students at the university's Hebraic department, studying the language of Israel in an Arab country that has never had ties with the Jewish state and where most people regard it as an enemy.
For the first time since it was set up 40 years ago, the department organized a festival earlier this month where students sang songs and recited poetry for an enthralled audience of about 100, and gifted tutors with presents.
The students learn Hebrew language, grammar, literature and the songs of the Hebrew bible, but confess they have never met a Jew.
"I used the internet to communicate with them but no one responded," says Saadun. 'Hebrew is very important'. Ancient Babylon, in modern-day Iraq, once boasted a large Jewish community but the numbers dwindled over time.
There has been no discernible community since Iraqi Jews headed to Israel in the years after the Jewish state was founded in 1948. By 1951, 120,000 Jews - nearly the entire community - had emigrated. The remaining handful fled after the 2003 US-led invasion which ousted Saddam.
Iraq is the only Arab country that fought in the 1948 war with Israel but never signed the 1949 ceasefire.
Professor Talib al-Qureshi, head of the university's faculty of languages, believes that despite the difficulties there are good opportunities for Hebrew-language graduates.
"Many think it is a waste of time but Hebrew is very important," says the 57-year-old academic with a doctorate in the language.
"People who speak Hebrew have very important positions in the world. The best will find work," he says of his students.
Just a few years ago, under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was trying to eradicate the Kurdish language in a campaign celebrated by western progressives as a "literacy programme". Today Kurdish flourishes in Iraq as an official language.
It is one grand irony of modern times that those who favour multi-culturism in the west often support an Arab monoculture in the entire middle-east. Today's Iraq is working towards are more multi-cultural world.
And call me a treehugging left-alternative green liberal, but I applaud any attempt to recognise different cultures and connect them.