Mission board takes up positive investment in Israel-Palestine

April 22, 2013


The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is exploring opportunities for investing in “positive” endeavors in Israel-Palestine – a response to the action of the 2012 General Assembly, which opted for that approach rather than divesting in certain companies said to be involved in non-peaceful pursuits.

A small group of Presbyterian leaders traveled to Israel to investigate possibilities, including Matt Schramm, chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, and Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The group identified some possible investment directions, Schramm told the board’s executive committee April 10 – among them education, micro-finance and renewable energy.

The first intentional “positive” investments are expected to be made this summer, with up to $5 million being available, Schramm said ― although it’s not been determined exactly how much will be spent. Some investments likely would be with local entities in Israel and the West Bank; others through multinational companies doing work in the region. There also is discussion underway for a mechanism to allow congregations to participate in these investment opportunities.

Tom Taylor, who leads the Presbyterian Foundation, said he’s “jazzed” by the possibilities, but acknowledged there is some risk ― that “it’s a volatile part of the world.” The investments would come from funds designated for “creative investments,” in which some increased degree of risk already would be expected, Taylor said.

  1. Take a look at http://www.nazarethseminary.org/about.php The Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary in Nazareth, Israel is headed by interdenominational Arab Christians and additional faculty from the US and Europe. They are providing a wonderful service training lay people to serve in churches and providing theological education. Remember that the word "evangelical" in the Middle East simply means (not orthodox or catholic). They partner with other Bible schools. They provide opportunities for sabbaticals for ministers and laymen from around the world and publish a blog with scholarly papers. Most of the students work and need scholarships to help them attend classes with the goal of obtaining a degree. The Galilee area of Israel has many opportunities for the growth of the church but they need help with funding for the staff, scholarships for the students, funding for theological faculty members in the USA to travel to Nazareth to teach for a semester or two, they need books and periodicals for their library. Dr. Azar Ajaj is the director. See faculty:http://www.nazarethseminary.org/faculty.php. I am familiar with this seminary and its history. I am a member of First Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA. I believe this struggling seminary would be a wonderful investment and would have an opportunity to grow.

    by Rebecca Rowden

    January 30, 2014

  2. My wife and I just returned from a 10 month volunteer stint with the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin, Israel (near Haifa). If you are interested in exploring contacts outside of your narrow circle, I would be willing to put you into contact with some people in the Galilee that are involved in small business incubator work.

    by Ted Settle

    July 11, 2013

  3. i do not think your plan in Palestine under occupation will work? unless the 46 Israeli military occupation ENDS your plan will not work & your investment is a high risk. when 140 nations @ the UN voted in Nov 2012 to accept Palestine as a state and as a non voting state @ the UN then i hope all our PCUSA systems from the mission agency to all our writer need to begin using the name of the State & stop using West Bank. thanks for your consideration. Rev. Fahed Abuakel, moderator of the PCUSA 2002-2003.

    by REv. fahed Abukel

    July 11, 2013

  4. Great positive approach for a very complex situation. .

    by Jack Sharp, honorably retired pastor

    April 26, 2013