Prayer Concerning Education and the Wild Wild West Bank

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
Nomadic Bedouin tribes with rich ancient cultures are spread throughout the Middle East including Israel. Though those living in Israel’s Negev desert can be incredibly embracing of Israel and often serve in the IDF as desert trackers, their very closed nit society and semi-nomadic nature makes it hard for local authorities to offer them structure and oversight.

When I was growing up and attending an Israeli school, I remember hearing the adults talking about how my teachers’ wages were below those of the city garbage collectors. I found the idea strange (no offense to garbage collectors) as teaching seemed to be such a fundamental building block of society that required an enormous amount of skill, creativity and emotional strength. Apparently, in the 20-plus years since, not much has changed. If anything, it’s gotten worse due to laws passed during the past decade or so. Though most schools in Israel are public and completely paid for by the government, some schools adopted a hybrid option where parents would pay a little extra and the school could offer a better educational experience. Unfortunately, in the name of “fairness” to parents who couldn’t afford to pay the extra, socialist activists pushed a law through that would forbid schools from requiring such payments from parents. So now, all teachers of public schools equally receive the same low salary.  

As the media has attempted to raise awareness, they’ve highlighted some of the many stories of teachers—like the young man who works at school during the day and then spends his evenings working menial jobs at the nearby mall. “The hardest part of working my second job is when my students see me at the mall and I have to explain to them that I need to work here to make ends meet and close out the month.”  

As this school year ends, even the parents have joined the protests of the low salaries teachers receive from public school. The two-fold problem created by this disparity is that the best and brightest minds of those skilled to teach end up taking their skills to schools—or countries—that will pay them enough to pay their bills and close out the month. The other is that teachers—who are significant candidates for being our kids’ role models—are never at their best when they are constantly stressed by financial struggles. 

On the radio the other day, parents were being told to contact the Ministry of Education if they had expertise in any area for the purpose of taking a teaching position next year. The schools expect a shortage of some 5000 teachers. As the law requires all children to go to school, a teacher shortage may mean classes have to grow in size from the already unhealthy current standard maximum of 42 students per classroom. 

Concerning Judea and Samaria:  

On June 13th, 2021, the 36th government was formed  under the “reign” of Bennett and Lapid. The coalition agreement was signed between unusual allies as some on the left and the right came together to form a new government. The hope was to put a stop to the endless rounds of elections—each of which proved to be just as expensive as it was indecisive. This state of limbo gridlocked many internal issues as well as made Israel vulnerable to surrounding threats. This new government (a patchwork of incredibly different opinionated political groups) has proved to be both resilient—and volatile—at the same time. And while many have predicted its imminent collapse since day one, the past couple of weeks have been the most challenging yet. 

A week ago, the coalition postponed a vote regarding the emergency regulation that covers Israeli law for Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) because they were unable to secure a majority. The emergency regulations renewed every five years since 1967 by both left and right governments, allow Israeli citizens to be subject to Israeli law and gives authority to Israeli police and the IDF in Judea and Samaria. Yesterday the vote took place and failed to pass. This is one more example of crucial existential laws that Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies have refused to support simply because their guy is not in power.  

Should the measure expire when planned on July 1st, Israeli citizens will lose their rights and privileges, including healthcare and basic things like drivers’ licenses. In addition, Israeli governmental bodies will not have the authorization to act in Judea and Samaria and over half a million citizens will suddenly be subject to the military law, making the West Bank a “no-man’s land.” If that isn’t enough, many security prisoners (arrested for terrorism-related issues) who are now in Israeli prisons, would need to be transferred into prisons currently not in operation) in Judea and Samaria. We are just weeks from this deadline. We need a miracle to resolve this

  • Father, You are the Keeper of Promises. All governments rest on Your shoulders
  • You are the God of Peace and Order. It is Your will for Your people to live in peace in Your land
  • May they know You and know the peace only You can give
  • The July deadline is coming quickly and hundreds of thousands of Israeli families will become vulnerable to those who practice lawlessness. Protect Your people in the land You promised them. 
  • We ask for leaders in Israel who will prioritize their people over their political ambitions.  
  • Remove those from power who are in power for themselves. Place in power those who will push Your agenda through
  • Right now, there are areas in Israel—Judea and Samaria and the southern desert—that are overrun by criminals due to lack of oversight. We ask for Your order to be put in place.  
  • Give the authorities wisdom in knowing how to designate their limited resources.
  • Much lawlessness is found among the tribal Bedouin who live in tent villages and who do not feel they are a part of Israeli culture. Show Israel how to resolve the issues that promote the chaos. 
  • Education is an important factor in the cultural chaos—especially in a land where indoctrinations of hate are a strategic commonplace. Grant Israel teachers of wisdom and truth.  
  • Organizing an entire system of education in a land with so many starkly different cultural sects is no easy task, and one that can only be done with Your grace. We ask for blessings of clarity on those in charge of the next generation of Jews, Arabs, Bedouin and Druze in this land.  
  • Provide resources for those who are called to teach
  • Israel is a difficult place to grow up for many reasons. Kids are influenced by other kids around them. We ask especially for children whose parents love you and are covering their children in prayer to find environments that are healthy for them—with just enough conflict to learn how to handle adversity—but not so much that their spirits are crushed.  
  • Families are the first line of “education” for children. We ask for strength, patience and wisdom for parents who are spread thin trying to earn a living and raise a family.  
  • Your nation of people whom You’ve called to represent You must be built on the building blocks of healthy families. So much goes into making a family healthy. We ask that You cover every aspect these families need so that Your name may be a praise among the nations
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