(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Birthright Israel program is launching its largest season to date, with 33,000 Jews ages 18-26 from 33 countries expected to visit Israel this summer.
The program offers free 10-day trips to Israel in an effort to strengthen young diaspora Jews' connection to the country. Kicking off Birthright's summer program, 131 groups are scheduled to land in Israel this week.
Additionally, the Birthright Israel Plus program, which is new this year, gives participants the opportunity to continue touring Israel for an additional four or five days after the main 10-day trip ends, and to choose enrichment programs from various fields of interest.
"This summer we will celebrate 600,000 participants [since 1999]," said Birthright Israel International CEO Gidi Mark. "We are proud to mark this benchmark, which represents, beyond the number, the change in which Jewish youth in the diaspora sees Israel and Jewish identity."