The first American Birthright group vaccinated in Israel lands in Tel Aviv | JNS
The first Birthright Israel group touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday, marking the resumption of activities after a year-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The participants – vaccinated students from the United States – arrived for a 10-day educational tour, visiting places such as the Golan Heights, Safed, Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv.
Dozens of additional trips are expected in June with even more tour groups scheduled for July, August and October.
“I am extremely happy that we are renewing the connection between the young Diaspora and the State of Israel,” said Birthright CEO Gidi Mark. “We have developed the best plan to safely and effectively resume our travels, which play such a critical role in strengthening the Jewish identity of hundreds of thousands of young people around the world and connecting them to the State of Israel. Following the rise of anti-Semitism in recent weeks, this is now more important than ever. “
He added that “we have thousands of young Jewish adults who have signed up for our trips.”
As the organization announced last month, in order to attend a Birthright Israel trip, all participants fully vaccinated or recovered with a dose of vaccine will need to provide a negative PCR test before boarding a flight to Israel, as well as to pass an antibody test upon their arrival in Israel. Additionally, Birthright Israel will work to ensure the proper testing required by the CDC for re-entry into the United States.
This season’s tour groups will consist of around 20 participants, up from 40 before the pandemic.
The return of Birthright Israel programming marks the end of the only cancellations in the organization’s 20-year history. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, Birthright Israel had organized trips for more than 750,000 young Jewish adults from 68 countries. In 2019 alone, the organization welcomed 45,777 participants. That number was only exceeded by the 48,000 participants he gathered in 2018.
During its two decades of existence, Birthright Israel trips have also contributed $ 1.8 billion to the Israeli economy.
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