Unprecedented demonstration of Christian Schools in Israel
PRESS RELEASE – The Office of Christian Schools in Israel held on Wednesday 27 May 2015 a big demonstration in front of the premises of the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem to protest against the discriminatory policy of the Israeli Government against local Christian school. The report below summarizes the situation and calls for mobilization.
Office of Christian Schools in Israel
Unprecedented Demonstration of Christian Schools in Jerusalem
On Wednesday 27 May 2015, at 11 a.m., an unprecedented demonstration was held in the square located opposite Lev Ram, Building in Jerusalem (seat of the Ministry of Education) by Christian Schools in Israel to protest against the discriminatory policy of the Ministry of Education towards our schools.
Took part in the demonstration Church figures (bishops, priests, religious and pastors), as well as parents of students of local Christian schools.
Local Christian schools count some 30 000 students, almost equally distributed between Christian and non Christians. Most of these schools started their activity before the creation of the State of Israel. They were built and developed thanks to donations from abroad. They brought and are still bringing to the Arab community in general a high quality education, as evidenced in the remarkable results of Christian schools. This high leveled education is visible through the number of Christian schools listed by the Ministry of Education among the best. While earning high academic results, these schools teach their students Christian dogma, in line with Christian values of loving, forgiveness and tolerance.
These schools belong to the classification of schools “recognized but not public” by the Ministry of Education and receive a partial funding from the Ministry. The rest comes from tuition fees borne by parents.
Since many years, Ministry of Education strives to reduce the budget of Christian schools (45 % over the last years). That obliged Christians schools to raise the fees, entailing a big burden on parents of the Arab sector, where the family’s average income is well known to be less than the national average.
Last year, the Ministry of Education published new rules to restrict the capacity of Christian schools to collect fees from parents. The combination of these two factors, added to huge budget restrictions and limits imposed on acceptable fees is in fact a death sentence regarding these schools.
A committee appointed by the Office of Christian Schools in Israel held negotiations over eight months with Ministry of Education and the latter proposed that Christian schools become public. This proposal was seen by school owners (churches, monasteries, etc) as the end of the educational process, based on Christian values, and as a critical blow to the Christian minority in the Holy Land. Considering these events, Christian schools decided to end these negotiations.
School owners from all over the world (Vatican, Germany, England, France, Scotland, USA and elsewhere) are well aware of this crisis and observe it with growing concern.
The demonstrators purpose was to ask the Ministry of Education to fund thoroughly Christian schools, on equal footing with other school networks, in order to alleviate the burden weighing heavy on parents shoulders, and to put an end to the necessity to pay tuition fees.
For further information, you may contact Fr Abdel Masih Fahim, Director, Office of Christian Schools at 00 972 50-5376481