Birthright Israel and Onward Israel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the possibility of a merger. The potential merger seeks to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties by expanding opportunities for young world Jewry to experience Israel in a variety of ways.
“Given our shared values, we see an opportunity to combine Birthright’s programming – including our 10-day educational tours and Birthright Excel Fellowship – with Onward Israel’s longer internships and immersive living experiences," Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright Israel explained.
"In doing so, we’ll more effectively be able to reach young Jews around the world with a variety of engaging programmatic options.”
David and Cindy Shapira, co-founders of Onward Israel, also expressed their excitement at the signing of the MOU. "Birthright with Onward Israel creates a new rite of passage for Jewish young people and will further strengthen the Jewish people. We couldn’t be more excited to be entering into this great partnership,” the Shapiras said.
Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world, according to the company. Over 750,000 young Jewish people have partaken in Birthright Israel free tours of the country. Onward Israel, a provider of mid-length Israel immersion experiences for Jewish young adults, was originally launched with the Jewish Agency. Over 11,000 young people have been engaged in Onward Israel programming.