Middle East

Protesters rally over funding for Christian schools in Israel

Christians protest outside the prime minister's offices in Jerusalem Image copyright EPA
Image caption Students at the schools were among those protesting on Sunday

Protesters have gathered in front of the Israeli prime minister's office to demand greater funds for Christian schools.

Private Christian schools receive some state funding but protesters say it is lower than that given to equivalent Jewish schools.

They say their funding has been reduced in an effort to make them join the Israeli public school system.

Israel's Christians come overwhelmingly from its Arab minority.

The country's 47 Christian schools have been on strike since the beginning of the school year on 1 September.

Ibrahim Fakhouri, a parent from Nazareth, was at the demonstration and said he believed Christian schools were being discriminated against.

"As citizens of this country, we are law obeying citizens, and we deserve equal rights," he told AP.

Arab members of parliament were also at the demonstration.

In response to the protest the education ministry said that "Christian schools are funded in an equal manner as other recognized but unofficial schools in the State of Israel," according to the Jerusalem Post.

It reported the ministry as saying it "is having meetings with representatives of the educational institutes".

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