Yay!The proposed Israeli budget for 2005 includes a $10 million funding boost for birthright israel. Last year’s budget allocated only $400,000 to the program which provides free ten-day trips to Israel to any Jew between the ages of 18 and 26 who has never before been on an organized Israel trip. MK
Natan Sharansky, whose office deals with Diaspora Affairs, stated that

We also made a strategic decision to strengthen the ties between the younger generation in the Diaspora and the State of Israel. In this context I insisted that we significantly increase our support for birthright, which is one of our most important Jewish-Zionist projects

Last summer, birthright israel brought 11,000 young adults on visits to Israel. The next round of trips will be this winter and for those of you who qualify, I suggest you visit IsraelExperts.com and get on the list. I was always skeptical of the usefulness of the birthright israel initiative, but after having led two trips and experiencing first hand the effect these trips have had on previously apathetic Jewish diaspora youth, well, what can I say? I’m a fan. I also like IsraelExperts as a trip provider because of their non-denominational approach that focuses on education and on letting participants come to their own conclusions. This IS a big deal because usually I am SUCH a cynical bastard…

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

2 Comments

  • Yeah, a big ‘yesharcoach’ (sp?) to organizations that don’t require you to be orthodox in order to take you places for free. I went when I was young on such a trip and managed to remain an apathetic kind of guy, but I certainly can confirm what ck_ said: guys that otherwise could care less were frequently brought to tears. Naturaly, i made fun of them, but that’s not the point.

    What happened to eevee? I miss her sharp tongue. Did the run on sentences drive her away?

  • I wish they’d had something like this when I was younger. I had to go on my own and figure it all out after I got there.

    Then I had my purse with my passport and money stolen and spent the rest of my time begging the U.S. embassy to believe I hadn’t really sold my passport to terrorists. Oy.

    I’ve never been back, sorry to say.

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