By SHIRA SORKO-RAM — MAOZ
Persecution in Israel is on the rise, and it comes in different shapes and sizes. From the extreme of laying a bomb at the house of believers in Ariel, to burning a chess club owned by believers in Arad, to intimidating businesses of believers, congregations and individuals – the enemy’s tactics are many.
This time the obvious persecution is buried under the disguise of bureaucracy. Here’s the story of Makor Ha’Tikvah Messianic Day School as told by the School Prinicpal, Cookie Schwaeber-Issan…
About three years ago, Makor HaTikvah Messianic Day School began a process of seeking official state recognition for our school. Encouraged by the Ministry of Education to come under their supervision, we felt this would not only give more weight and legitimacy to our school, which had, by that time, already been operating for 20 years, but we also saw this as a way to gain the much needed financial help that would result from such recognition and state funding.
All throughout this process, we carefully and systematically followed all the procedures required of us, including making certain structural changes to our building in order to conform to all of the required standards which were demanded of state recognized schools. We were happy to receive a final approval from the Board of Health and continued to move forward in order to reach the end of this process.
In that regard, we met with regional officials who interviewed us, filled out voluminous paperwork concerning our course of studies, teacher qualifications, etc., and interviewed many students, by speaking to them personally, and viewing their classes. They commented how impressed they were with our school, our resources and our levels and standards and that we’d receive an answer within one to three months. That was around late October/early November of 2012.
After not hearing beyond that time, we began to inquire the beginning of February, and it wasn’t until a few days ago that we received a final answer which denied our request for a license and was accompanied by a court order to close our school within 30 days.
Among the reasons given for the denial were:
1. Our teachers are not certified, qualified or possess degrees (a claim which is entirely false);
2. The building is unsuitable for a school (certainly not according to the Ministry of Health who already gave us their approval);
3. Our student body is too small with no hope of significant expansion of enrollment in the future (that is nothing which can be claimed with certainty);
4. We discriminate by only accepting believing children (state recognition and funding would force us to allow the enrollment of any child, but, of course, we know that non-believing Israeli families would not think of enrolling their children in a school which studies New Testament and prays to God in the name of Yeshua).
Since there is a court order to close our school, we have retained the help of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, which is led by two believing attorneys – Calev Myers and Michael Decker – who have vast experience and success in representing schools in Israel in similar circumstances. The judge will render his decision on the injunction on Sunday, the 7th of April, and therefore the 7th of April will be a very important day regarding the school’s future. We are asking you to please be in much prayer about this situation.
This order came just days before the Passover holiday when most government offices were shut down and, therefore, left us little time to seek the relief which we must. Additionally, if such an order is upheld, it will impact the continuing education of the 82 children who attend Makor HaTikvah, making it impossible for them to finish in June. Of course, finding a school for so many children who live in many different areas of Jerusalem, would, undoubtedly, cause a break in their studies and cause great hardship for parents who would be forced to find an alternative educational
situation for their children.
We are writing to you to let you know just how serious this situation is and to ask you to PRAY for favor from the judge who will be hearing this case. Additionally, we are praying that our appeal will be accepted and that our attorneys will be able to show that the claims made are both false and biased. We know that there are a number of orthodox Jewish schools as well as other schools which have small enrollments and whose building is in far less of a desirable condition than ours which has been significantly upgraded in the past four years.
We are asking you to please prayerfully consider helping us to pay these legal fees so that the only Messianic Jewish school in Jerusalem can continue to operate and provide a godly alternative to educate the children of the Jerusalem body of believers in the land of Israel. Satan must not win this battle. In fact, we believe that this is the last deadly dart that he will be able to throw at us before victory comes.
As you can see, the battle is raging, and every battle for Messianic Jewish believers in Israel is an uphill one… but we know that God will use this situation for His glory!!!
As part of our istandwithisrael.com fund, helping the persecuted believers in Israel is a high priority and a great privilege. Legal fees could range as high as $26,000 (and that is with a substantial discount from JIJ) as they battle through the courts.
One hundred percent of what is given for Makor Ha’Tikvah Messianic Day School will go to help them with their legal battle against this persecution.
We invite you to be part of helping the persecuted believers here in the Land of Israel… until all Israel is saved!
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
Give to help Persecuted Believers: http://maoz.convio.net/site/R?