Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel has decided to go to bat for the nation’s 47 Arabic-speaking Christian schools, which are facing a severe financial crisis.
The Christian schools went on strike last year demanding government funding, even though they are not part of the state-controlled public school system.
Israel’s Education Ministry agreed to provide the Christian schools a one-time 50 million shekel injection, but that funding is now three months overdue.
Israeli officials are arguing that if the Christian schools want to receive taxpayer funding, they need to be folded into the official public school system.
But Gamliel says that regardless of their current status (the schools may still yet be recognized as official public schools) they deserve state funding.
A program Gamliel is quickly putting in place will allow any schools – including the Christian network – that meet certain requirements to apply for and receive grant money from the government.