Israel – Challenges of the Salesians in Cremisan and Nazareth

04 June 2020

(ANS - Cremisan) - In order to restore impetus to the Cremisan house in Israel, the Salesians are organizing a series of activities aimed at involving the local inhabitants, such as mini-training courses related to the cultivation of olives, horticulture, and the construction of hanging gardens, courses created in collaboration with the Palestinian government's Ministry of Agriculture to encourage women's firms and offer tools for organic and sustainable agriculture.

"Cremisan is one of the few 'green lungs' in the region," says Fr Alejandro León Mendoza, Provincial of the Middle East (MOR). "We started by making sure that young people can indeed come to us to do one-day school camps, to offer experiences to those who have no other possibility of contact with nature, involve them in projects that respect the environment, which also become occasions for interreligious meeting and respect. Finally, we welcome and encourage requests from young people who want to volunteer in Palestine and who intend to engage in social education projects."

Adele Amato, head of the Local Planning and Development Office, also talks about the organization of the activities of the Salesian houses: "Our objective is to use the projects as a vehicle for strengthening the Salesian mission, respecting today's donor requests as fully as possible, and paying the utmost attention to resource management and sustainability. In parallel, we are constantly striving to find a vehicle for financing activities through initiatives such as the canteen, the bakery, formation for company staff with the aim of returning the Salesians to young people, freeing Salesians from administrative activities as much as possible and having them focus on the school-educational mission and the support of young people."

To present the complex reality of Nazareth, in the Northern District of Israel, is Fr Lorenzo Saggiotto, an Italian Salesian who has served in the Middle East since 1968. Today he is Director of the Salesian center in Bethlehem, but from 2000 to 2019 he was engaged in Nazareth.

Here is how he explains the reality of the young Israeli Arabs who live in the town of the historical region of Galilee: "The youthful environment of Nazareth is very difficult for the Arab-Israeli children, who are negatively affected by contact with the Jewish world," he underlines. "Here, more and more often, religion is only an external image; we are witnessing a strong secularization also in Islam. The biggest problem is the identity crisis: to understand it, just consider the fact that among our Muslim students, which are 80% of the total, only 20% respect Ramadan."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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