Muslimpress:some 33,000 students and teachers at independent Roman Catholic - run schools in Israel have downed pencils and schoolbooks to protest what they say are drastic elementary school budget cuts by Israel ' s government. Some of the schools date back hundreds of years, predating the founding of the state of Israel by centuries. Mom Rula Azar is participating in the strike with her kids — Joyce, 6, and Jirius, 9 — because she believes families should have a choice when it comes to schooling. "It's my right to choose which school I want my children to go to, and it's our right to have those schools... with full budget," said the 35-year-old teacher in Ramla, Israel. "We are Israeli citizens, respecting the law, we believe in equality and these are the values we teach in these schools." Azar added that she shows her children to "love others and that there is great value in the Israeli society, which contains quality, freedom," but in her heart believes the government's moves stem from racism. Israel's education ministry did not respond to repeated questions on how many Jewish schools it funded, and to what level. Also, a senior adviser to the Assembly of Catholic bishops in the Holy Land, accused the government of "stupidity or racism" in deciding to cut the funding.