Christian schools in Israel continue to strike amidst cuts

In the UK, children went back to school last week and are busy enjoying their lessons and seeing their friends and teachers.

Meanwhile in Israel, Christian schools haven’t begun their new terms as teachers have gone on indefinite strike in protest at government funding cuts which are disproportionately affecting them over other religious schools. Some 450,000 students joined the protest earlier this week as most other Palestinian Arab schools closed on Monday in a powerful show of solidarity with the Christian schools.

Earlier this year Embrace CEO Jeremy Moodey wrote on the crisis facing Christian schools in Israel. 

‘Christian schools are private institutions outside the Israeli state schooling system and have a “recognised but unofficial” status. In recent years they have been caught in the middle of an almost perfect storm of government regulation. Teachers’ salaries, set centrally by the government at the behest of Israel’s strong teaching unions, have risen sharply, while Israeli government funding, which only partially meets the schools’ costs, has been severely cut, especially at elementary level. The only way the schools can survive is by increasing the fees paid by parents, which they have been reluctant to do given their historic commitment to serving the poor and the much lower income levels of Palestinian Arab families in Israel compared to Jewish families. ‘

Despite over 18 months of negotiations, matters have not progressed positively. In a statement, The Office of Catholic Schools in Israel said that they have not taken the step to strike lightly, but felt the protest action was the only avenue left open to them. They state funding for primary schools has been cut from 45% to 29%, training has been cancelled and the amount of fees they can charge per student has been severely limited.  

Please pray for all the students whose education and social development is being impacted by the strikes. And please pray for the school staff and decision makers for a quick and fair resolution.

Embrace the Middle East provides bursaries for disadvantaged children at 17 Christian schools in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Donate now.