Surge in Diaspora young professionals in Israeli programs

Jewish Agency celebrates 10,000th intern in Onward Israel program.

June 26, 2019 02:42
1 minute read.
FROM LEFT: Michael Siegal, Jewish Agency chairman of the board; Owen Egre, 10,000th Onward Israel pa

FROM LEFT: Michael Siegal, Jewish Agency chairman of the board; Owen Egre, 10,000th Onward Israel participant; Isaac Herzog, Jewish Agency chairman of the executive; Alisa Doctoroff, Jewish Agency board of governors; David Shapira, Shapira Foundation chairman; David Silvers, Jewish Agency board of g. (photo credit: DAVID SALEM)


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The number of students and university graduates coming to Israel for professional internships is surging, with the number of participants in the Onward Israel program growing from 1,270 in 2015 to an expected 2,800 this year.

“Israel is a start-up superpower that attracts young people from all over the world, and professional internships are an important way to connect millennials to Israel,’’ said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. “This allows young people from all over the Jewish world to build their resumes at the outset of their professional journey, while getting to know Israeli society and deepen their Jewish identity at the same time.”

The Jewish Agency held a celebratory event at its board of governors meeting on Sunday to honor Onward Israel’s 10,000th participant, Owen Egre, a 19-year-old second-year engineering student at Northeastern University. Egre initially visited Israel as a participant on Birthright, and returned this summer for an internship at the local office of Canadian engineering firm, IBI Group.

Onward Israel was founded seven years ago by the Jewish Agency together with the Beacon Foundation and the Shapira Foundation, to enable Jewish young adults to get to know Israel through eight-week internships with local companies. Today, Onward is an independent organization supported by charitable contributions operating in partnership with Masa, a joint program of the Jewish Agency and the Israel government.

In addition to the growth in the number of students and recent graduates, the list of participating companies in the Onward Israel program has more than tripled to 1,300, including Bank Hapoalim, Wix, Soda Stream, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Deloitte Israel, as well as The Jerusalem Post.

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