update deskJewish Diaspora

Birthright Israel mega-event draws 2,000 young Jews from around world

“No matter what, we will never give up on our unity and support for one another,” said CEO Gidi Mark.

Eden Golan sings at the Birthright Israel Mega Event at Mini Israel Park in Latrun on June 24, 2023. Credit: Mark Nomdar Photography.
Eden Golan sings at the Birthright Israel Mega Event at Mini Israel Park in Latrun on June 24, 2023. Credit: Mark Nomdar Photography.

More than 2,000 participants on Birthright Israel programs gathered on Monday for a gala evening in central Israel that marks the highlight of the organization’s summer trips to Israel.

The Birthright Israel Mega Event at Mini Israel Park in Latrun took place in solidarity with the Israel Defense Forces as soldiers continue to fight Hamas in the Gaza Strip, keeping in mind the hostages taken captive on Oct. 7 from Jewish communities in southern Israel who are still being held there. It also highlighted the organization’s efforts since that day in bridging connections between Israel and global Jewish communities, as well as strengthening the State of Israel.

Among the performing artists on stage on June 24 were 2024 Eurovision Song Contest competitor Eden Golan, who came in fifth place for her performance of “Hurricane”; Hatikva 6, an Israeli reggae band started in Ramat Hasharon; Ethiopian Israeli pop singer Hagit Yaso of Sderot; and Yuval Sharabi, daughter of Yossi Sharabi, who died in captivity in Gaza.

Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright Israel, began his speech by requesting a moment of silence to honor the memories of the 13 Israeli alumni of the program who were killed by Hamas terrorists at the Nova music festival or who died fighting to save lives that Black Shabbat.

“Nearly every young Jew who has visited Israel since Oct. 7 has come with Birthright Israel,” he said. “This summer, almost 15,000 young Jews will visit Israel, and we should not overlook this opportunity. Birthright Israel aims for participants to connect with Jewish peers; take pride in Judaism; deepen their understanding of Israel and themselves; and forge lasting friendships.

Mark added that “no matter what, we will never give up on our unity and support for one another.”

Birthright Israel Mega-Event
The reggae band Hatikva 6 performs at the Birthright Israel Mega Event on June 24, 2023. Credit: Mark Nomdar Photography.
Birthright Israel Mega-Event
The crowd at the Birthright Israel Mega Event on June 24, 2023. Credit: Mark Nomdar Photography.
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