Birthright Israel Celebrates Decade

 IDF Pledges More Soldiers for Mifgashim

 Arutz Sheva

The now-famous Birthright program, which brings Jewish young adults to Israel for free 10 day trips, will increase the number of trips and participants by 20% in 2010. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the participation of soldiers in the project will grow, as well.

This week, Birthright celebrated its 10 year anniversary, proudly acknowledging the feat of bringing 250,000 young Jews and children of Jews from around the world to Israel, where they also spend time meeting IDF soldiers. In last week's "mega event" commemorating the birthday, Birthright CEO Gidi Mark told attendees that the organization would bring 27,000 young people to Israel this year, a 20 percent increase from previous years.

"We are celebrating 10 years of the Birthright project, and even though we have succeeded in including over 250,000 young Jews in this initiative, to date, the situation of Judaism in the Diaspora is not so good," Mark said. "Most young Jews have still not visited [Israel], and this is a problem we are striving to correct."