Christian schools in Israel striking over slashing of funds
Sept.6, Jerusalem: Some 33,000 students from 47 Christian schools in Israel have been on strike since the school year began on September 1, against the slashing of funds for Christian schools.
Protesters complain that Israel continues to fully fund large private school networks that cater to ultra-Orthodox Jews while it slashes the Christians' budget.
On Sunday, about 2,500 striking demonstrators gathered outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, police said.
Christian school administrators accuse Israel of cutting their funding as a tactic to pressure them to join the Israeli public school system — a move they say would interfere with the schools' Christian values and high academic achievements.
The vast majority of Israel's Christians are of Arab descent, and Arab lawmakers joined students, parents and principals at Sunday's demonstration, waving flags and holding banners with slogans such as "Christian schools are not for sale."
Christians make up a small part of Israel's 20 percent Arab minority.Christians are currently less than 2 percent of the population of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
There are about 150,000 Christian citizens of Israel and about 50,000 Christians spread out in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Oslo Times