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'Second-timers' Get Go-ahead for Birthright Trip

January 24, 2014 By:
JTA
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Birthright Israel makes a policy change as Jewish young adults who previously visited Israel on a high school program will still be eligible for Birthright.

JERUSALEM — Jewish young adults who previously visited Israel on a high school program will still be eligible for Birthright.

The Taglit-Birthright Israel steering committee approved the expansion of the free 10-day trip to Israel at a meeting on Jan. 21, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry announced two days later. The expansion is to go into effect with this summer’s trips for 18- to 26-year-olds.

The committee also voted to increase funding to attract more French young adults, who face escalating anti-Semitism at home, to the program. French aliyah has nearly doubled in recent years.

The decision to offer a Birthright trip for second-timers comes after operators of high school programs in Israel complained that the heavily subsidized Birthright trips have hurt enrollment in their programs, according to reports.

The trips of the second-timers will be funded solely by donors, as opposed to first-time visitors to Israel, whose trip is one-third funded by the Israeli government.

“Taglit has proven itself as a leader in strengthening Jewish identity among young people in the Diaspora and building ties with the State of Israel,” the Diaspora Affairs Ministry said in a statement. “Expanding the participation criteria will add to Taglit’s positive influence in the Jewish world.”

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