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Israeli Church leaders fear government takeover of Catholic schools

Catholic World News - September 01, 2014

Catholic Church leaders in Israel are concerned about the threat of a government takeover of Catholic schools, the Fides news service reports.

Faced with declining educational subsidies, and occasional calls for the government to take control of Catholic schools, the Latin-rite Catholic patriarchate of Jerusalem has sought a meeting with Israeli government officials to discuss the situation. Having received no reply, after several formal inquiries, Catholic-school officials threatened a strike, which would have begun on September 1, to call attention to the impasse.

The strike was averted when the Israeli education ministry finally agreed to set a meeting with Catholic-school administrators. But Church officials remain worried about the future of Catholic education in the Holy Land.

If it had occurred, the strike at Catholic schools would have come at a time of mounting tensions in the region, as the Israeli government has announced plans to seize nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land on the West Bank, for the construction of a new Jewish settlement.

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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Sep. 01, 2014 7:59 PM ET USA

    How long has it been since the Vatican granted diplomatic status to the state of Israel hoping to get issues like taxation of Church properties and visas for workers resolved? It's been at least 22 years with stall after stall after stall.! Lots of luck to the Catholic Schools in their attempts to get the Israeli government to back off on taking over their schools! Ask the displaced Palestinians how things go when you try to negotiate with the Israelis under Netanyahu.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Sep. 01, 2014 7:05 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Defender, for clarity on this issue. Since I now trust next to nothing that Catholic clerics in that area say concerning Israel, I appreciate the details you supply here. Given what is going on in the world, it is perplexing that Catholics should want to blame Israel for much of anything. The Israeli authorities, after all, seem to be alone in their willingness to stand up to Mohammedan bullies. Were there someone with that much resolve in Iraq, many Christians would still be alive.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Sep. 01, 2014 5:37 PM ET USA

    That's what happens when you take money/subsidies from a govt. You are then told what you can and cannot do. Why is it necessary for the Catholic schools to get subsidies from the Israeli govt? If they cannot do it themselves with donations from abroad, from lay faithful worldwide, then close the schools! Things have never been the same since the 60's when the sisters left in the thousands, many no longer sisters and many dissatisfied with teaching, feeling "unfulfilled." Hence, social work

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 01, 2014 5:16 PM ET USA

    There are 44 Catholic schools attended by 24,000 students in Israel, many of whom are Muslim. Unlike the US, the government provides Catholic schools in Israel with money (subsidies), which sounds a lot like Canada. In many ways, with the propensity to blame all the ills of the West Bank and Gaza on the Israelis by the senior Catholic clerics, this isn't too surprising.

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