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Israel’s Christian Schools Get Overdue Grant

Cash-strapped Christian schools in Israel will be able to access a large government draft that is months overdue, reports The Times of Israel.

The country’s 47 Arabic speaking Christian schools catering to 33,000 pupils who are Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews faced a financial crisis after the government slashed the schools’ budget September last year. The Ministry of Education has not paid 50 million shekels (approximately $12 million) to the school system.

The Christian schools went on strike for four weeks and demanded the funding. Asia News said discrimination is rampant in the schools. The government reduced subsidies to cover only 29% of the costs; at the same time, it had placed a limit on fees that schools can seek from families.

Pope Francis even discussed the problem with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin when the latter visited the Vatican last September.

Last month, Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel has decided to provide the Christian schools a one-time 50 million shekel injection.

Wadia Abu Nasser, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Israel, said, “We appreciate the efforts of the [social equality] minster, but we are wondering why it came so late.”

“The problem isn’t about the 50 million shekels,” Nasser added, but it is rather how the schools are generally treated despite their success as some of the Jewish state’s best educational institutions.

Father Abdel Masih, head of the Office of Christian Schools in Israel, said he is still negotiating a long-term solution with the Education Ministry to ensure financial stability for his schools.

(2016). The Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-cash-strapped-christian-schools-get-overdue-grant/

Israeltodaycoil. (2016). Israeltodaycoil. http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/29430/Default.aspx

Asianewsit. (2016). Asianewsit. http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Vicar-of-Jerusalem:-Christian-Schools-without-funds,-Israel-not-respecting-agreements-37592.html

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