Arab Christians in Palestine have threatened to close their churches in retaliation for Israel’s cutting of the budget allocated to community faith schools, which forced these schools to shut down as a result of their inability to continue providing their educational services.
The advisor to the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, Wadie Abu Nassar, told Quds Press that occupation authorities continue to delay resolving the problem of Christian schools, as they have “only made some promises to provide assistance to solve part of the financial crisis, but they have not offered any genuine solution to end the crisis.” The crisis has been ongoing for a month, resulting in the closure of 47 schools serving around 33,000 Palestinian students from various cities and villages across the occupied territories.
Abu Nassar described Israel’s promises as “vague”, noting that the crisis started years ago and recently escalated following the Israeli authorities’ decision to cut the budget allocated by the Israeli Ministry of Education to these schools from 57 per cent to 27 per cent.
He stressed that these schools are recognised by the Israeli Ministry of Education but the ministry deals with them as “unofficial” entities, which is why they do not obtain full state funding.
“The managements of community schools refuse to make up for the shortage [of funds] from parents and the schools are unable to cover for this shortage on their own,” he added, noting that community and religious Jewish schools have a similar status to community schools in Palestinian territories. They are recognised but not official … and nonetheless they receive 100 per cent full state funding,” Abu Nassar said.
“Why does the Jewish student studying in these schools receive full funding while the Arab student in community schools does not receive the same funding?” he asked.