Christians in Israel are hopeful that a long-running funding crisis for Christian schools will soon be resolved.
The Christian schools in the Holy Land have a long tradition and serve an important role in society by offering education based on Christian principles to the Christian and Muslim minorities in Israel. There are 47 schools affected by the funding crisis, operated by a variety of denominations, but chiefly through the Catholic Church.
Over a period of several years Israel’s Ministry of Education cut financial support for Christian schools by an increasing amount each year, and put a limit on the fees which can be collected from parents. As a result, Christian schools have suffered financial hardship, and many have been threatened with closure.
There have been many attempts to address the issue, including strike action at the beginning of the school year in 2015, but until recently the committee representing the Christian schools could not come to a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Ministry of Education.
On 7th June a delegation from Christian schools met Ministry of Education representatives, including the new director general Shmuel Abuab. The director general was impressed with the presentation given by the schools and was visibly angry with the lack of progress made by the Ministry of Education in resolving the issue of government support. In September 2015 50 million shekels (US$14 million) of support was promised by the government, but only the portion allocated to primary departments has been paid so far. The high schools have not received any of their allocation.
The director general has indicated that the limit on fees which can be collected from parents will be raised. This would enable schools to raise the minimum amount needed for them to function adequately. He has said that the issue will be resolved before mid-July.
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS, OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
Christians in Israel are grateful for the prayerful support of Christians around the world, and request prayer as follows:
a. thank the Lord for the determination of the new director general
b. please pray that the Ministry of Education will come up with a satisfactory and permanent solution
c. pray that God will continue to bless and use the schools for the good of all in Israeli society