Thousands of young professionals, organizers and supporters recently gathered at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park to celebrate 18 years since the founding of Masa Israel Journey in what was one of Israel’s largest international get-togethers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oct. 22 event, which was live-streamed on Facebook and kicked off the start of Masa Israel Journey’s new programming year, was attended by more than 3,000 Masa Israel Journey Fellows, alumni, partners and community members.

Attendees were treated to a performance by the Israeli band Hatikva 6 and a pre-recorded message was shared by Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai and Yaakov Hagoel, acting chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency, also spoke to the crowd. Attendees took part in community-building workshops and other activities amid food booths representing countries around the world.

“By choosing to immerse yourself in Israeli society and by sharing your unique stories and skills with us, you’re contributing to Israel’s growth, and you are becoming partners in the critical mission of strengthening the ties between Israel and the Jewish people, especially the next generation,” said Herzog. “I am eager to see how our journey together—here—in your and my Israel will make your lives so much richer.”

Masa Israel Journey offers long-term gap-year, study-abroad and post-college programs. Currently, some 7,500 participants are in Israel with thousands more expected this year.


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