We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Government defunding Christian schools in Israel

Christians in the Holy Land have a tough enough time as it is. Christians are all too frequently caught between Israeli and muslim entities at odds with each other. Christians have long provided hospitals, schools, universities and other social service organizations to all citizens of the Holy Land regardless of religion. Once again, Christians face an uncertain future in a region they have lived for nearly two millennia.

The Government of Israel has not honoured its promise to provide agreed upon funding for Christian schools.

The following citation is an excerpt from a statement by the General Secretary of the Office of Christian Schools in Israel.

Download the full statement HERE.

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The Office of Christian Schools in Israel
Tel/Fax: 04-6567639
Email: cath.office@gmail.com

23rd May, 2016

Statement

Follow up to the 27-day strike of all Christian Schools in Israel in September 2015:
  • The Israeli Government has not honoured their commitment to transfer 50 Million Shekels (approximately $13 million USD) to the Christian Schools.
  • The Ministry of Education has not offered any solution for the financial crisis in Christian Schools.
  • Christian Schools in Israel are in immediate danger of collapsing financially.
Background

The 47 Christian Schools in Israel owned by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Church of Scotland, Christ Church, and Baptist Churches in Israel went on strike for 27 days in September 2015.

These Christian Schools consist of 33,000 Christian, Muslim, Druze and Jewish students from all around the country.

The Office of Christian Schools announced this unprecedented strike after the government had been constantly cutting the budgets allocated to these schools to a level of 45% in the last 6 years. Additionally, the Ministry of Education issued regulations that would limit the possibility for the Christian schools to collect fees from parents. These two measures made it impossible to keep operating.


The ministry of Education then suggested that Christian schools join the Israeli Public school system—a suggestion that we rejected.

These measures caused great anguish among all those related to our schools, as ultra-Orthodox Jewish Schools, who are supposedly in the same category of schools in the Israeli system, receive full funding from the government whilst keeping their autonomy. 

The unprecedented strike included demonstrations, tents for protest, meetings in the Knesset, meetings with ministers of government, and meetings with officials and foreign delegations as well as Israeli and worldwide media coverage. 

The strike ended after the government and the Christian schools reached an agreement. It stated that the Christian schools would receive 50 million shekels by the 31st of March 2016 as compensation for the cuts in previous years. In addition, the agreement stated that a commission would be formed with the sole purpose of discussing recommendations to resolve the crisis.

[...]

Plea

We are asking all those who see the importance of the continuity of Christian Schools in Israel (a vital component of the Christian presence in the holy land) for their help and support. We are asking that you approach the Israeli Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Social Equality as well as the high officials in these offices and Israeli Embassies around the world asking that:
a) The transfer of the sum of 50 Million Shekels be completed immediately.
b) The government decide on a fixed sum to be paid annually to the Christian schools to compensate for the drastic cuts.
c) Alternatively, that a new legislation be brought forward that will create a new status for the Christian schools that will ensure sufficient funding and take into consideration their uniqueness and long service in the land.
Sincerely
Father Abdel Masih Fahim
General Secretary

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