Birthright to Continue

The JTA reports,

Birthright israel pledged to continue the program for five more years.

The commitment was made official Monday at a meeting in Israel of birthright’s steering committee, comprised of Israeli government leaders, philanthropists and representatives of the North American Jewish federation system. But funding operates on a “year-to-year basis,” said Robert Aronson, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the federation system’s liaison to birthright. The program, which provides free trips to Israel for Diaspora youth, has suffered shortfalls in funding from the federation system and the Israeli government. According to Aronson, “the federations have come up with a guarantee of funding for this year and next year,” but the Israeli government’s commitment for next year is still “up in the air.”

Birthright hopes to boost participation from 18,000 in 2004 to 20,000 in 2005.

Just last month, a friend who had intended to go on birthright this summer received an e-mail from a tour provider saying, “Apparently this is the last summer for birthright trips,” which included a forwarded message from a higher-up stating, “there’s no secured funding for birthright trips beyond this summer.” Looks like that’s not the case anymore…

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