More than 3,000 enthusiastic attendees gathered on Wednesday for an extravaganza, known as the Birthright Israel Mega Event, which caps each summer’s gathering of the organization’s trips to Israel.
Yet this event was more special than usual, marking as it did the return, after a two-year break due to the coronavirus crisis, of the free summer trips to Israel for young Jewish adults from the Diaspora. Since 1999, 800,000 young adults from 68 countries have participated in Birthright trips.
What happened at the Birthright Israel Mega Event?
Wednesday’s crowd at Pavilion 2 of Expo, Tel Aviv included Birthright participants from 13 countries, 700 participants in Onward-Israel, 120 in the Birthright Excel summer program, and the Birthright Israel Foundation Mission, led by Board Chair Phil De Toledo, as well as many donors and supporters from around the world.
The event also included greetings from philanthropist Miriam Adelson, M.D. and Birthright Israel’s CEO, Gidi Mark emceed the evening. The Israeli pop-music duo of Static and Ben El performed for the celebrants.
"After two years of limited participation, we at Birthright are experiencing tremendous demand and are preparing accordingly for the rest of the year. Since the beginning of 2022, more than 25,000 participants have come to Israel from the Diaspora and we’re already preparing to welcome the one-millionth participant to arrive within the next few years," said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.
"After two years of limited participation, we at Birthright are experiencing tremendous demand and are preparing accordingly for the rest of the year."Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark
"Tonight, we are excited to return to celebrating such a large group of Birthright participants in Israel to experience it for themselves. This includes, for the first time, participants from Onward Israel, the leading mid-term internship program that merged with Birthright earlier this year.
Birthright is an organization that connects Israel to the largest number of young Jewish adults from around the world and builds a Zionist-strategic Iron Dome for Israel," he added.Birthright Israel offers the gift of a free trip to Israel for Jewish adults ages 18–26 and, in doing so, transforms the Jewish future. Past participants have called the trips life-changing. Birthright Israel aims to bring every Jewish young adult from around the world, especially those less connected, to Israel through its educational programs.
Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world, with more than 800,000 young adults having visited the country since the program’s founding.