Christian schools to reopen in Israel following strike over funding inequalities


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Christian schools in Israel will open after a monthlong strike over inequalities in funding.

The deal reached early Sunday morning will allow some 33,000 students, mostly Muslims, to return to the classroom on Monday, Haaretz reported.

Under the agreement between the Christian schools council, representing 47 schools, and the Education Ministry, the schools will receive a supplemental $12 million in state funding and a nearly $3 million bonus.

The two sides agreed to establish a joint committee to discuss the relationship between the church schools and the Education Ministry, according to Haaretz.

Alleging that they receive only one-third as much government funding as comparable Jewish schools, the Christian schools did not open at the start of the school year on Sept. 1. In 2013, the Israeli government cut its funding to the Christian schools to 34 percent of their budgets from 65 percent, according to Haaretz.

The Education Ministry says it has offered to allow the Christian schools to become part of the state system, making them eligible for more state funding.

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