What is the deposit for?
Each participant must pay a deposit, which can be fully refunded or donated afterwards. The deposit is up to $250 USD, depending on which country you are from.
This deposit serves a few purposes. During the application process, it acts as one of a few measures designed to reflect the fact that an applicant is serious about the prospect of participating in the program. Once an applicant is accepted to the program it acts as a guarantee that he/she will not cancel at the last minute, which would prevent another person from benefiting from the opportunity to go to Israel. Moreover, the deposit helps cover fees and penalties incurred by the airlines for late cancellations.
The deposit also helps guarantee that participants follow Birthright Israel safety and behavior standards. In severe cases where participants violate these rules, their deposit may be confiscated.