On Monday, the day after nonagenarian philanthropist Charles Bronfman said, “Next year, we will raise a glass and say ‘Mazal tov!’ because the (Netanyahu) government won’t be,” Birthright Israel, which he funds, announced that it will send 40% fewer young people to Israel in 2023 compared to last year.
The program, which is nearly 30 years old, pointed to increased inflation and travel costs for the drop.
This year, Birthright will bring 12,658 young Americans and Canadians on free, 10-day educational trips to Israel between mid-May and September. Last summer, that number was 18,358.
“The inflation that has hit much of the global economy and the rising costs of travel post-COVID have driven up Birthright Israel’s expenses,” stated Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark. “Without offsetting donations, thousands of applicants in the future will be denied the chance, as were thousands this summer, to experience a Birthright Israel trip. We feel terrible about that, but we had no choice.”
Birthright currently has a waiting list of 20,000 young Jews, he added.
According to reports, Bronfman, who will turn 92 in June, predicted at the 2023 Charles Bronfman Prize ceremony on May 7 that the current Israeli government would fall in months. “Netanyahu tricked voters,” he said. “In (his administration) are people who aren’t fit to be in any government in the world.”