This past decade has seen a 400 percent rise in the participation of young Jews from the United States in education programs, a Brandeis University Professor told the Knesset Immigration, Absorption & Diaspora Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
In addition, at least a quarter (25%) of young American Jews participate in educational trips, like the well-known Taglit-Birthright program, according to Prof. Leonard Saxe of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis.
Speaking at the committee meeting, Independence MK Einat Wilf stressed the importance of Taglit-Birthright trips, saying the program has become the "most important" tool for strengthening the relationship between Jews in the US and Israel.
She called on the state to increase funding for Birthright, beyond the Netanyahu government's decision to contribute $100 million over three years from 2011-2013.
According to Wilf, there is a dramatic difference in attachment to Israel for those Jews who participate in an educational trip to Israel, and those who do not.
She described every rejected application as a strategic loss for Israel, and the Jewish people.