Taglit-Birthright Israel brought a record-breaking 1,600 participants to Israel on Monday, December 30–the first time in the organization’s history that 39 groups from around the world all arrived on the same day. This group represents participants from the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany, and Russia. U.S. cities included Boston; New York; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Dallas; and cities from Southern California.
“It is exciting to be able to bring to Israel thousands of young Jews, many of whom have never been here,” said Taglit-Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark. “Taglit-Birthright Israel’s goal is to bring 50,000 Jewish young adults to Israel each year, so this display is not only inspiring, but also motivation to continue pursuing this goal.”
A reception was held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv upon arrival, where Mr. Mark and Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau gave short speeches to welcome the participants.
“The sparkles in your eyes remind me of how special and exciting this country is and how much you all will experience as you travel in the coming days,” said Landau. “I’m sure this trip will change your lives. Israel will always be a home for you–either as tourists, immigrants, or as Jewish Zionists.”
Over 350,000 Jewish young adults have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel from 64 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and from nearly 1,000 North American college campuses. Additionally, 65,000 young Israeli soldiers from prestigious units of the IDF and students have joined various groups on their tours.
Taglit-Birthright Israel represents a unique, historic, and innovative partnership between the government of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world through the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, and the Jewish Agency of Israel. To learn more, visit www.BirthrightIsrael.com. v