“Last week in Teheran, they put a clock counting down to Israel’s destruction- but we will be here long after their theocratic tyranny is just a part of history”
Said Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu, to thousands of young Jews from around the world, who took part in Birthright Israel’s annual Mega Event in Rishon Letzion
“By coming here you join the Israeli soldiers in helping secure Israel’s future. I want you to take everything that you see and share it with others, tell others about the miracle of Israel, this rare and thriving democracy in the Middle East”, said Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu, tonight (Sunday, June 25th) in Birthright Israel’s Mega Event, held in Rishon Letzyon’s ‘Live Park’ in the presence of Dr. Miriam & Sheldon Adelson Judy and Michael Steinhardt, Yossi Beilin, Meir Shamir, Members of the Knesset, and Birthright-Israel benefactors, partners and participants from the US, the UK, Canada, Argentina, and Israel.
“It’s a strong country ready to defend itself from threats and also reach out in peace for those wishing for it. When they attack us, stand proud and say who you are with: the free people of Israel or those severing off heads? If you stand for the free, stand for Israel, for the truth. Tell everyone to come see it for themselves- we will be waiting for you this is your Birthright.“ he continued saying.
During the event Birthright Israel presented three IDF units with awards for their excelling collaboration with the organization throughout the year including: Yahalom, The Navy training base (Bahad), Nahal Infantry Brigade and the intelligence Corps’ 121 unit.
Birthright- Israel International CEO Gidi Mark: “On this special evening, we celebrate the remarkable milestone of 600,000 participants who have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel. This figure represents more than just a number, but a real change in the way world Jewry perceives Israel and their connection with their Jewish heritage- a change already effecting the future if the Jewish people in an unprecedented way. We are also glad to have here with us over 1,000 soldiers of the IDF and present its units with special awards for their excelling collaboration with us. The encounter (Mifgash) between the young Jewish adults from around the world and the Israeli soldiers allows for both sides to have an unmediated interface with one another, learn about each other’s culture and world views. Throughout the year we learned that, through the program, the participants’ Jewish identity and their support of Israel is strengthened. Simultaneously, IDF’s soldiers have a stronger sense of identity, commitment and mission for the state of Israel”
During the summer season, Birthright Israel will mark two significant milestones: a record of 33,000 participants between the ages of 18-26 from 33 countries who will enjoy their free 10-day tour in Israel, and welcoming 600,000 participants since its inception in 1999.
Birthright Israel has a unique, historical and innovative partnership between the Government of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world through the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Since its inception in 1999, over 500,000 young Jewish adults from over 66 countries have enjoyed their free gift of a free 10-day educational tour of Israel. Over 80,000 young Israeli soldiers and students have joined various groups on their tours.
Over the years, several studies have been conducted by Brandies University, located in the USA, demonstrating the lasting effect on Diaspora Jews when focusing on their Jewish identity and their connection to Israel.
Photo Erez Uzir