The Christian school in Israel: Why it may not last long

Christian schools are discriminated against by the Israeli state system, a representative is claiming.

Father Abdel Masih Fahim represents Christian Schools in Israel and said the government's decision to cut the funding to Christian schools from 75 per cent to 29 per cent is discrimination against Christians, according to the BBC.

Even the original 75 per cent is discriminatory against the 100 per cent funding given to Israeli state schools, said Abdel.

Religious tension is rife in Israel and Christians are among the targets of the Israeli state, according to AbdelReuters

The comments came in a wider report about the last remaining Church of Scotland school which, strangely enough, is in Israel.

In the midst of division and religiously fuelled hatred and violence, Tabeetha is "an oasis". It is a school where "there is no tension between pupils in regard to religion or race."

The Christian school accepts pupils from all faiths and the playground is full of children speaking Hebrew, Arabic, English and a number of other languages.

A Glaswegian woman, Jane Walker-Arnott, founded the school in 1852.

Fiona Walker's report for the BBC describes how she gazes down sternly at the pupils as they practise their nativity play. Joseph is played by Mohamud, a Muslim.

Nawras is an A-level pupil and is also a Muslim.

"As somebody who lives in Jaffa, it gets quite tense, but we don't have a lot of places here in Israel where people are together, but if this expands, then our potential would be impossible to imagine," she said.

"At one point I see my brother being stopped for wearing a gold necklace, because it looks suspicious, and on the other side, I hear my friend's family being victimised from a terrorist attack. What we do is learn from it and not taking one stand, one position."

However despite the school's approach, one Jewish pupil, Yan, says he "is not optimistic."

"I think people are fighting for nothing; they're fighting for something useless, and I think the people should get along," says another pupil, a Christian named Roberto. "I want to see people just stop have racism."

The Church of Scotland's Middle East secretary, Kenny Roger, said Tabeetha chooses to recognise all religions.

"Within the Israeli state system, it's clear that they don't recognise necessarily the Christian and the Muslim faith, so children going there, their teaching will be solely based on the Jewish religion."

If Tabeetha were to close as a result of the funding cuts, many of the families would leave Israel entirely, Roger added.

Although discussions with the Israeli government show signs of hope, Christians are marginalised in Israel, he said.