A donation by Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson will allow 2,000 people to tour Israel this winter on trips organized by Taglit-Birthright, the group announced on Wednesday. The five-million-dollar gift doubled Edelson’s annual contribution to the program which offers young adults in the diaspora a free trip to Israel to ten million dollars in total for 2011.
“We couldn’t bear seeing thousands and thousands of young adults who wanted to visit Israel not able to go,” said his wife Miriam. “Greater participation means we can change the lives of more young adults.”
In all, the casino magnate has given about 100 million dollars to Birthright. “This is a direct, tangible contribution to the Jewish people,” said International CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel, Gidi Mark. “This year alone, the Adelsons will enable a total of 4,000 young adults to visit Israel. These are 4,000 lives changed. These are 4,000 people who almost certainly will identify more closely as Jews and with Israel.”