On Tuesday, two Israeli civil rights groups published a report outlining the ongoing classroom shortage in Palestinian public schools around East Jerusalem. According to the report, a court order from 2001 demanded that the Jerusalem municipality construct 644 new classrooms by the year 2011. Nine years later, less than forty percent of the desired total has been completed. In addition, since the time of the court order, an estimated 1000 new classrooms are necessary to accommodate the growing child population. As we enter back-to-school season around the world, may we pray for those who wish to learn but, for lack of a space in which to do it, cannot.
Beginning this year, a pilot program will begin in 170 schools throughout Israel to establish mandatory Arabic study for all students in Israeli schools after the fifth grade with the intention of expanding the program throughout the country. We hope that this initiative will continue and allow young Israelis, Arabs and Jews, to engage and understand one other as equals.
Today marks the opening of the 3rd Annual Sabeel Women’s Conference, “A Moment of Truth: Challenges Facing Women Today.” For the next three days, Muslim and Christian Women from all over Palestine and Israel will listen to panels and lecturers, discuss various regional problems and conflicts, and pray together as Palestinian women. May the spirit of this conference guide women in Palestine and around the world to work for positive transformation in their communities.
This Saturday, Rev. Dr. Olaf Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches will be visiting Jerusalem. During his stay, Rev. Tveit will be meeting with the heads of the churches and the Kairos Committee. We pray that this visit will encourage the World Council of Churches to continue in their support of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.