Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/BRAZIL - The memory of the missionary Fr. Ezechiele Ramin is still alive even 30 years after his assassination - On 24 July 1985 Father Ezechiele Ramin, a Comboni missionary originally from Padova , was murdered in Cacoal, in the northwestern state of Rondonia, Brazil. Father Ezechiele, a 32-year-old priest, arrived in Rondonia the year before and he immediately defended and took care of the poorest, especially the indigenous people and the landless, whose existence was seriously threatened by unscrupulous large landowners. In this context of violence, Fr. Ezechiele was brutally killed as he was returning from a mission of peace: he had met some landless farmers who had occupied part of the Fazenda Catuva, on the border with the state of Mato Grosso, and had asked them to withdraw. His murder had a major impact at a national and international level.<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides by Sister Chiara Dusi, a Comboni missionary, and Father Rafael Vigolo, a Comboni missionary, after thirty years "the memory of Father Ezechiele is still very much alive, especially among indigenous peoples and farmers. His figure still animates and illuminates the faith and commitment of Christian communities and popular organizations. We are beginning to gather testimonies, so that the Bishop of the diocese of Ji-Parana, Mgr. Bruno Pedron, may have sufficient information to request the opening of the canonization process". <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">The documentary in Portuguese with subtitles in Italian</a>Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:02:10 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian in prison on false charges of blasphemy after a private dispute - The Christian Pervaiz Masih, a resident of the village of Usman Wala, in the district of Kasur in Punjab, was denounced and arrested for blasphemy, following a private dispute with a Muslim man, Haji Jamshed, regarding the sale of building material. "According to a cliché that is repeated, Muslims abuse the blasphemy law, falsely accusing a Christian after a private dispute that has nothing to do with religion", says Christian lawyer Aneeqa M. Anthony to Fides, head of the NGO "The Voice". In the village the incident has caused tension between Christians and Muslims, says Anthony to Fides.<br />Her team is trying to get to the bottom of the issue. As Zarina Bibi, Pervaiz Masih’s wife explained, the police burst in his house between 1 and 2 September and violently beat and arrested him. Pervaiz and Zarina have four children: Amir 9, Prem 5, Anmol 3 and Sanam 7 months old. "Pervaiz is completely innocent, we are sorry for him", said his wife.<br />The team of the NGO "The Voice" are taking care of the children and family security. "We will make every effort so that justice is done" said lawyer Anthony. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:50:18 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Egyptian Coptic Patriarch: let us rationalize the use of the Nile waters - An invitation to encourage the rational use of the waters of Egypt was made yesterday to all Egyptians by Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The call to rationalize the exploitation of water resources of the longest river in the world was highlighted by the Patriarch in his homily during the liturgy celebrated in the church of the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius, in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. At the same time, the Primate of the Coptic Orthodox Church broke the news of a cooperation protocol signed between the Coptic Church and the Al Ahram Foundation, aimed at creating a website dedicated to the Egyptian civilization.<br />Patriarch Tawadros aims at fostering the development of a new ecclesial sensitivity to the risks associated with unplanned and disorderly exploitation of national water resources . In this perspective, some priests will attend training courses at public institutions that manage irrigation systems fed by the Nile, and then help to raise awareness about the vital need to preserve the "good health" of the great river artery. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:35:02 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - Bishop of Meru: "Fight for a culture that promotes family and life" - "The Family is an image of the Holy Trinity that signifies the love of God for humanity. As a visible sign of this love, the family becomes the venue per excellence for the transmission of life, faith and training in values and virtues", said Mgr. Salesius Mugambi, Bishop of Meru and President of the National Family Life Program of the Episcopal Conference of Kenya, in his address to the national family life, held in Mombasa yesterday, September 2.<br />According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, Mgr. Mugambi urged Catholic movements and people of good will not to succumb before the pressures of a culture that undermines the family, but to work for a culture that promotes life. The Bishop hopes that the State will promote laws and institutions to support and defend the rights and duties of the family.<br />Several families, Catholic and non, benefit from the family training program offered by the Kenyan Church. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:20:45 +0200ASIA/INDIA - May the Day of the martyrs of Orissa be a "national event" Delhi - "The Day dedicated to the martyrs of Orissa, recently established by the Bishops of that state, is important it becomes a national celebration for the entire Indian Church": is the opinion expressed to Fides by Capuchin friar Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM.Cap. The friar already in 2008, in the aftermath of the anti-Christian massacres that shook the district of Khandamal, organized a Mass in Calcutta and a commemoration of the victims, involving the "Justice and Peace" Commission and the local Caritas. Since then, on August 25 each year several Christian communities, scattered in the Indian territory, have recalled the anniversary of the violence that struck the Christians.<br />Now that the Bishops of Orissa have decided to officially establish a "Day of the martyrs", the Capuchin notes: "Those martyrs not only belong to Orissa, but to the entire Indian Church. Their sacrifice is an inspiration to all Christians: this is why I am committed to raising awareness at all levels to ensure that the Day is proclaimed as an initiative of the Bishops' Conference of India, celebrated by the whole Church". Friar Nithiya Sagayam will do it starting from the Association of Franciscan Families of India , a body of which he is the coordinator, and brings together the followers of Francis of Assisi, friars, nuns and laity present in India. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:07:50 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - A video and a letter from Father Jacques Murad, the prior of St. Elian kidnapped last May, has been released - The rumors spread regarding the release of Fr. Jacques Murad, Prior of the Monastery of Mar Elian and pastor of the Qaryatayn community, kidnapped last May 21 by unidentified kidnappers, have not yet been confirmed by local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides. The rumors began circulating after the Lebanese Christian television network Noursat TV broadcast a short video in which father Murad expressed reassuring words about his physical condition and his health. But the video does not contain any indication as to the date of its registration. Sources close to the Syrian Catholic archdiocese of Homs told Fides that in addition to the video, there is even a letter attributed to Father Jacques, where the Prior of St.Elian invites priests and members of his monastic community to leave the Monastery of Mar Musa because the situation has become dangerous for all Christians in the region. No one is able to confirm the authenticity of the letter and the fact that it was written by the priest under pressure. It is not excluded that the video was steered by those who hold father Jacques in order to condition any negotiations for his release.<br />Some armed kidnappers abducted and took father Jacques away from the Monastery of Mar Elian on May 21. Also deacon Boutros Hanna was kidnapped. Then, on August 21, a video was released documenting the destruction of the Monastery of Mar Elian by jihadists of the Islamic State. <br />The ancient Sanctuary of the V century, located on the outskirts of Quaryatayn and entrusted in recent centuries to the Syrian Catholic Church, was refounded by the Italian Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, kidnapped on July 29, 2013 while he was in Raqqa, the Syrian capital for years under the control of the jihadist Islamic State.<br />During the various phases of the conflict, the city of Qaryatayn was repeatedly conquered by anti-Assad militias and bombed by the Syrian army. Before being kidnapped, Father Jacques Murad had hosted thousands of refugees in the monastery, who came mostly from the nearby city of Qaryatayn, and had ensured their survival with the help of Muslim donors. Fr. Jacques and a Sunni lawyer in the area had also exercised the function of mediators to ensure that the urban center of 35 thousand inhabitants were spared for long periods by armed clashes. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 11:55:39 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The Archbishop of Juba will inform Pope Francis on the situation in his country - Mgr. Paolino Lukudu Loro, Archbishop of Juba, will inform Pope Francis on the situation in South Sudan.<br />Before embarking for Rome, the Archbishop, talking with the reporters of Radio Bakhita, expressed his satisfaction with the peace agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and his rival, former Vice President Riek Machar and commended the peace efforts undertaken by IGAD and the international community.<br />Mgr. Loro also called on everyone to make an effort in implementing the agreement, and urged the southern Sudanese to accept one another by living in peace with each other.<br />The civil war unleashed a series of minor conflicts among ethnic groups and between farmers and herdsmen for the control of water resources . The conflict caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the youngest African State . Thu, 03 Sep 2015 11:50:43 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Meeting of the Bishops of Colombia and Venezuela on the border area crisis - The meeting of the Permanent Council of Colombian Bishops, presided by Archbishop of Tunja, Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, with the President of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, His Exc. Mgr. Diego Rafael Padrón Sanchez, Archbishop of Cumana will be held today, September 3, at the headquarters of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, in Bogota, <br />Venezuela will be represented by the Archbishop of Coro, Mgr. Roberto Luckert Leon, President of the "Justice and Peace" Episcopal Commission, and the Bishop of San Cristobal, Mgr. Mario Del Valle Moronta, Colombia will be represented by the Bishops of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions that are in the border area.<br />According to information from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops will analyze the humanitarian crisis that has arisen in the border area between Colombia and Venezuela, following the closure of borders and the expulsion of a thousand Colombians decreed by the Venezuelan President. The meeting will further outline the role of the Church to overcome this difficult situation between the two countries. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:22:57 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Dengue haemorrhagic fever affects children in Huila - The lack of early diagnosis and family care are among the main causes of dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is causing a high number of deaths among children of the Colombian department of Huila. We are talking about children living in the districts of Neiva, Campoalegre and Florencia. According to local sources, every month about 70 cases of infection are identified in the department, in particular among minors. Last week alone, 5 cases were identified in the University Hospital in Neiva, and it is unknown how many patients are being treated in other health centers as well as those who "take care of themselves". The lack of commitment of the families for the prevention of this viral disease, transmitted very quickly, and can be fatal, aggravates the situation, along with the severe lack of health care. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:05:48 +0200AFRICA/ANGOLA - Fighting illegal financial flows to find resources for the continent's development - Necessity to fight illegal financial flows, resulting from corruption and illegal export of natural resources, in order to fund the development of African countries. This is what the participants at the African Caucus invoked, a forum that brings together 19 African Finance Ministers and governors of 14 central Banks in Africa, which was held in Luanda, capital of Angola, from 25 to 28 August.<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, due to the lack of resources to finance the development of the continent, Armando Manuel, Minister of Finance of Angola, urged to seek "other sources of funding".<br />The Countries of the continent, highly dependent on the export of raw materials, are affected by the fall in oil prices and the slowdown in global demand for minerals. In its report to the forum, David Robinson, Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund has predicted cuts in state budgets of African Countries to cope with the crisis, with cuts in investment, reforms to subsidies for the purchase of fuel, tax increase, greater flexibility in exchange rates. <br />Could Europe, worried by the arrival of refugees but also of economic African migrants and non, lend a hand to African countries in tracking their financial institutions funds arising from African corruption and demand compliance with the rules in terms of corruption, tax evasion and smuggling? Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:55:40 +0200ASIA/ISRAEL - Demonstration in Nazareth to defend Christian schools - Initiatives to support Christian schools in Israel continue, which instead of re-opening its doors to students at the beginning of the new school year, a strike has begun against the political choices of the Jewish State against them, deemed discriminatory. In Nazareth, in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation, a crowded demonstration of solidarity took place yesterday afternoon, September 1, with the mobilization of Christian Schools, which also saw the participation of His Exc. Mgr. Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Israel, along with a large group of priests, religious men and women. Mgr. Marcuzzo repeated clearly that Christian schools do not ask for privileges, but only justice, while the crowd of demonstrators - composed mostly of teachers, school staff and families of students - waved placards and banners with slogans written in various languages, which also denounced the deliberate intention of the government to put at risk the very survival of educational institutions animated by the Churches and Christian communities in Israel.<br />The budgetary constraints imposed by the Jewish State are at the root of the protest. In a few years, government grants to Christian schools have declined by more than 45%, forcing the institutions to increase the school fees paid by families, often with low incomes, below the national average. The 47 Christian schools in Israel are attended by 33 thousand students and employ 3 thousand teachers. State subsidies, which until a few years ago covered 65% of the fees, have been dramatically reduced and now do not even cover 30% of the expenses. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:44:15 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - New investigations into the case of Mariam, the Coptic student discriminated - The investigation on the "case" of the Coptic student Mariam Malak will be re-opened, the story of alleged discrimination. It was the same Egyptian Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, who promised a detailed reconstruction on the matter of what is now in Egypt known as "student zero".<br />Mariam is a brilliant Coptic student. When Mariam took part in the tests to be admitted to secondary school, she was rejected and was informed that the grade she obtained in the exams was zero. Considering this disastrous outcome hard to believe, the student asked to see for herself the results of her exams, but all her appeals were rejected. Since then, her family have started a legal battle involving public opinion, that is regarded as a test to see if unspoken religious discrimination, which in past decades always influenced the functioning of public institutions, is really banned in Egypt today.<br />Mariam was received today with great affection by Prime Minister Mahlab, and during the meeting the Egyptian Prime Minister promised to reopen the case to see whether and how the rights of "student zero" have in fact been violated. Coptic sources consulted by Agenzia Fides reported that in the next few days she will be received also by Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:24:21 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Bishops support President Buhari's campaign against corruption - Nigerian Bishops support the campaign against corruption led by President Muhammadu Buhari through some recent public statements.<br />"Corruption has done us very deadly harm as a nation and has messed up the lives of most Nigerians. President Buhari must emphatically win the war against corruption as he is doing with terrorism and this can only happen if we all vow to be individually corruption-free and those who have corruptly enriched themselves in the past, to make comprehensive restitution", said His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, in his opening speech of the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Archdiocese of Jos.<br />"Every correctly identified living corrupt Nigerian, no matter how high or influential and no matter how long ago he or she practised the art of corruption should be brought to the "altar" of justice and made to suffer for being so insensitive and unmerciful to the aspirations and well-being of Nigerians. This will no doubt be a deterrent to other Nigerians who might be contemplating to corruptly enrich themselves", said Mgr. Kaigama, in the text sent to Fides.<br />The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan , intervened on the issue at the end of their second plenary Assembly. <br />"We call on our compatriots to cooperate with the current administration to bring sanity back into our country by showing common determination to reject corruption, nepotism, favouritism and to enthrone in our country a regime of justice and equity, where merits are respected and the rule of law exalted", the Bishops said in a statement issued after their meeting.<br />Nigeria is placed 136th on the corruption ranking of 176 countries. 85% of Nigerians think that corruption in their country has increased between 2011 and 2013. Corruption is considered a major cause of poverty that afflicts 40% of the 179 million Nigerians. According to Global Financial Integrity, 157 billion dollars were illegally transferred from Nigeria to other countries abroad only in the last decade.<br />President Buhari, who took office on May 29, has made the fight against corruption one of the central points of his campaign and now his presidency. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:09:13 +0200AMERICA/PERU - A month dedicated to combatting human trafficking - The campaign Corazón Azul Peru 2015 against human trafficking has just been launched in Peru. Every year Peru celebrates the "Month of Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings" in September. In the Country, over 90% of the victims are women, while 60% are children. The campaign aims to raise awareness on the characteristics and methods of this criminal trade.<br />Corazón Azul Peru 2015 is part of the initiatives conducted by the Permanent Multi-sector Working Group against Human Trafficking, along with other public institutions and civil society organizations. According to reports by the Director-General for the Democratic Security of the Ministry of Interior, the regions with the largest number of cases are Madre de Dios, Puno, Cusco, Piura, Loreto, San Martín and Lima. Almost 60% of the traffic, including sexual and labor exploitation takes place in the capital. Since last year, 1,500 victims have been recovered, mostly from the provinces. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:42:46 +0200AMERICA/ANTILLES - Tropical Storm Erika: churches destroyed, displaced families, many children swept away by the waters John's - Tropical Storm Erika has hit the Caribbean in recent days, in particular the state of Dominica, causing death and devastation. People are missing, houses, bridges and roads have been destroyed, the airport is closed. It is not yet possible to make an overall assessment of the damage as several areas have been completely isolated. 80% of the Country and many of the churches have been destroyed. Father George Williams, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Antilles told Fides: "due to the damage suffered, many families in many villages have been displaced after their homes were washed away by the torrential rains. In addition there are many children who have been swept away by the waters".<br />The National Director of the PMS has received a list of essential goods indispensable for the survival of the population from the Diocese of Roseau. These include drinking water, non-perishable food, powdered milk and diapers for children, medicines, disinfectants, clothes, sheets and blankets. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:28:04 +0200ASIA/CAMBODIA – The First Youth Day in Cambodia and Laos Penh - "We young people of Laos and Cambodia want to continue the personal encounter with Christ in our daily lives; we want to build the Kingdom of God through the witness of charity towards all. Through dialogue and sharing we want to strengthen brotherhood among us. We want to engage in the construction of the common area of ASEAN at a spiritual and human level, by promoting brotherhood, peace, justice and freedom, and giving voice to the poor": are some of the pledges made by young people who in August experienced the first "Youth Day of Cambodia and Laos", which for a week gathered more than 100 young people in Cambodia, under the aegis of the Episcopal Conference of Laos and Cambodia . Young Laotians were accompanied by Mgr. Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Apostolic Vicar of Pakse. In the manifesto of the final Day, sent to Fides, the youth highlighted that they intend to "affirm the dignity of every man and commit themselves to the common good and the protection of Creation".<br />The Week, full of moments of prayer, listening, dialogue, reflection, celebration, was held in three places in Cambodia: Tangkok, land of the Cambodian martyrs, supreme examples of brotherhood with Christ; Phnom Penh; Battambang, where the closing Mass concelebrated by Bishop Ling and Mgr. Olivier Schmitthaeusler, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh was held.<br />Contacted by Fides, Mgr. Schmitthaeusler declares: "The Churches of Laos and Cambodia have been united in the same Episcopal Conference since 1968, but the Bishops were not allowed to meet for many years. Now, every year we can meet alternately in Laos and Cambodia. These meetings are important moments of exchange, understanding and communion, in which joint initiatives are planned such as Youth Day which we celebrated with great joy".<br />Very importantly, according to the Bishop, is the attention to ASEAN: "The world is changing fast. The ASEAN common market is just around the corner. But will this space be successful only if it is built on economic foundations and policies? We Catholics in Southeast Asia must do our part and contribute to this construction, with the aim to walk together towards peace and justice. The youth responded with great enthusiasm to this appeal". Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:18:34 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Bishops of Orissa establish "Martyrs Day" - The Bishops of the Indian state of Orissa have decided unanimously to establish "Martyrs Day" and dedicate it to the victims of anti-Christian massacres that occurred in the district of Kandhamal in 2008. As Fides learns from the local Church, the Day will be celebrated in the month of August each year. This is what the five Bishops of the state decided during their annual meeting. <br />So far the local Church had celebrated a "Day of Remembrance" to remember the victims of the massacres.<br />Archbishop John Barwa SVD, President of the Council of Bishops of Orsissa, confirms to Fides that "the exact date will be decided in accordance with the victims' families. We intend to give them deep consolation, perpetuating the memory of their loved ones and recognizing them as martyrs".<br />"Those killed during the anti-Christian persecution in 2008 deserve our commitment, honor, respect and recognition: they died for their Christian faith and witness of Christ", explains to Fides Mgr. Sarat Chandra Nayak, Bishop of Berhampur.<br />Mgr. Simon Kaipuram, Bishop of Balasore, told Fides that "the Episcopal Council of Orissa will ask the Bishops' Conference of India to extend the celebration of the Day to the entire nation".<br />"I welcome this decision. We must recognize the dead in Kandhamal in 2008 as martyrs of faith", said to Fides the lay Catholic John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council and member of the National Integration Council of the Government of India. "It is important that the entire civil society in India remembers the massacres of Kandhamal: it is the most ferocious attack that Christians have suffered in history. And the victims have been betrayed by the criminal justice system", added Dayal.<br />In the violence that broke out on August 25, 2008 in the district of Kandhamal, over 90 Christians were killed, more than 350 churches and places of worship were destroyed, 6,500 houses destroyed, 40 women were victims of rapes and beatings, over 56 thousand Christians were expelled from their villages. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:53:08 +0200AMERICA/ARGENTINA - National Biblical campaign on the 50th anniversary of the "Dei Verbum" Aires - In many Latin American countries the month of September is dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of Bible reading. In Argentina, the motto of the 2015 National Campaign of the Bible, organized by the Department of Biblical Pastoral of the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis and Biblical Pastoral, is "I have called you friends" . According to information sent to Fides, the organizers intend to focus on the theme of revelation seen as an act of God’s friendship with men. In addition, the Campaign highlights the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Council "Dei Verbum", on Divine Revelation.<br />A poster was published showing the theme of this month, distributed to parishes, schools, institutions and communities, and a teaching aid with nine sketches of the Lectio Divina on the Gospel texts and the first letter of St. John, which can be used in various ways according to the needs of each community.<br />In particular, there will be two days of prayer and biblical reflection in the Basilica of San Carlos and Maria Auxiliadora, in the neighborhood of Almagro to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dei Verbum. On Wednesday, September 23, the Mass will be presided by His Exc. Mgr. Ernesto Giobando SJ, auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires at 7.30 pm, while the following Sunday – National Day of the Bible - it will be broadcast on national television at 9 am. On Thursday September 24, the Eucharist will be presided by His Exc. Mgr Nicolas Baisi, Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata at 7.30 pm, and after Fr. Luis Liberti SVD will hold a conference on the theme "Contribution of Bishops and experts from Argentina in the promulgation of the Dei Verbum". Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:33:00 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Appointment of the Rector of the "St. Francis Xavier" Philosophical Seminary in Agra City - On March 5, 2015 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Tharcius Britto as Rector of the "St. Francis Xavier" Regional Philosophical Seminary in Agra.<br />The new Rector was born on July 6, 1960 in Attipakkam, Tamil Nadu. After the Minor Seminary he studied philosophy at Morning Star College in Calcutta and theology at Dharmaram College in Bangalore. He was ordained a priest on 27 April in 1991, in Oriyur, in Tamil Nadu. After carrying out his pastoral ministry in a parish for a few years, he obtained a Doctorate in philosophy in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He was a formator and teacher at the "St. Francis Xavier" regional Philosophical Seminary in Agra, rector of St. John's Seminary in Jhansi, parish priest and dean of the Divine Merci School, in Jhansi. Since 2012 he has been a formator and teacher at the "St. Francis Xavier" Seminary. Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:30:07 +0200ASIA/ISRAEL - Christian schools strikes against "discriminatory measures" of the government - Christian schools in Israel will begin a number of strikes as of today, September 1, just when the new school year begins in the Country. Through the extreme measure of suspension of all school activities, they intend to protest against the policies of the Jewish State against them, considered "discriminatory". This was reported by official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, reconstructing the reasons and the various steps of the dispute that has long seen Christian schools and Israeli policies in contrast.<br />At the root of the protest there are budgetary constraints imposed by the Jewish State. In a few years, government grants to Christian schools fell by 45%, forcing the institutions to increase the school fees paid by families, often with low incomes, below the national average.<br />According to the coordination bodies of Christian schools, these measures threaten the very existence of educational institutions animated by Churches and Christian communities in Israel. The exhausting negotiations - lasted eight months - between the Committee of representatives of Christian Schools and the Israeli Ministry of Education did not lead to solutions considered acceptable. The Ministry asked the transformation of Christian schools in state schools. A proposal which was rejected, because according to the representative bodies of Christian Schools, it would have led to the end of the original contribution provided by the educational reality, and would have inflicted "a tragic blow to the Christian presence in the Holy Land".<br />On May 27, the Christian schools of Israel - attended by 30 thousand students, of whom only half are Christians - had staged an unprecedented demonstration to denounce the discriminatory policies .<br />Before the final failure of the negotiations, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had summoned the representatives of Christian Schools and the Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennet for groped mediation . The Office of Catholic Schools in Israel, which had initially expressed a positive view compared to the presidential initiative, has now issued a statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, where it is defined as a ploy "to take time" and "put an end to the protest". The strike - the statement said - will be suspended only when the demands of Christian Schools are fully satisfied. Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:21:34 +0200