Israel Cannot Continue to Punish the Students in Its Christian Schools

Israel must carry out its obligations as a democratic state toward these students, and return them to the classroom.

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Protesters outside the home of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Saturday September 12. Christian schools have been on strike over state budget cuts.
Protesters outside the home of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Saturday September 12. Christian schools have been on strike over state budget cuts.Credit: Rami Shllush
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

The school year opened to great fanfare and numerous photographs of politicians together with students at schools around the country, yet 33,000 students enrolled in Christian schools have yet to begin their studies.

The decision to shut down Israels 47 Christian schools, not including Jerusalem, was made by their management board, which for months had warned that as a result of massive budget cuts by the Education Ministry, the schools, which are regarded as unofficial but recognized educational institutions, would be unable to start the new school year.

Since the strike began, the government, the Education Ministry and most of the Israeli media have treated the issue as a marginal one — so much so, that ahead of the start of the school year all the authorities announced gaily that everything was in order.

It is difficult not to assume that the issues slide from the public agenda, the lack of interest among decision makers and the delay in addressing the issue stem from the fact that the schools serve Israels Arab community. It is not far-fetched to presume that such a strike among Jewish schools would elicit much greater effort by the authorities to solve the problem.

The Christian schools administration is demanding funding equivalent to that allocated to the other unofficial schools, particularly ultra-Orthodox Jewish institutions, which over the years have obtained full government funding through successive coalition agreements, in addition to the withdrawal of stipulations that could jeopardize the flow of funds. These schools are assured of funding even when they dont meet various requirements, such as teaching mandatory core studies.

In contrast, church schools have suffered double-digit percentage cuts in the last few years, alongside reductions in external funding sources, such as donations. The schools collected the difference from parents, but the Education Ministrys decision to limit the amount that schools can charge parents put the management board in an impossible situation.

Israels Christian schools serve a large Arab population from across the community. The state and the Education Ministry must see them as part of Israels comprehensive educational network. These schools, which are known for their success and contribution to Arab and Israeli society, were mostly founded before the establishment of the State of Israel. After Israels founding, they covered for its failures in the realm of Arab education.

The government and the Education Ministry cannot continue to punish the students in the countrys Christian schools. Israel must carry out its obligations as a democratic state toward these students, and return them to the classroom.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer