Birthright to resume free trips to Israel after months-long hiatus

For the first time since the October 7th Hamas invasion, Birthright Israel to organize free trips to Israel for Diaspora Jewish youth.

By World Israel News Staff

After a months-long hiatus, Birthright Israel has announced it will resume its free organized trips to Israel for Diaspora Jewish youth starting next month.

Jointly funded by pro-Israel philanthropists, the Israeli government, and the Jewish Agency, Birthright Israel has brought some 850,000 Diaspora Jews to Israel for heritage trips since 1999.

Following the Hamas invasion of southwestern Israel on October 7th and the subsequent war between Israel and Gaza, however, Birthright Israel suspended its trips to Israel indefinitely. Birthright Israel previously suspended its organized trips to Israel during the coronavirus pandemic, after the Israeli government imposed strict limits on the entry of non-citizens.

On Monday, Birthright announced that it will resume its organized trips beginning in January.

“After careful consideration and conversations with its partners, Birthright Israel, the largest educational tourism organization in the world, will restart its free, 10-day trips in Israel the week of January 5, 2024,” the group said.

The organization expects 350 participants, about 80 percent of them from the United States, to visit in January and a few hundred more through March 2024.

Registration for the summer trips will begin by mid-January on Birthright Israel’s website.

Birthright Israel emphasized that the upcoming trips will operate under strict safety and security standards set by the Israel Defense Forces’ Homefront Command.

Additionally, all Birthright groups will undergo a pre-trip orientation. In addition to matters covered in previous seasons, the upcoming orientations will cover adjustments to the schedule and to safety and security parameters.

“Birthright Israel is committed to providing participants with a safe and a meaningful experience, which they might need now more than ever.”

Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark said that while the organization continues to ensure that the standard sites and insights are visited throughout the program as safety permits, achieving Birthrights goals of positive Jewish identity building, and connecting participants to Israel and Israelis is key.

“Alongside a fun and meaningful experience, we want our participants to understand what happened on October 7th and gain meaningful insight on how the events affected Israeli society and Jewish communities around the world, and how our Jewish lives, values and community help us find hope in these dark times.”