Jewish Agency Reports on Impact of Study Courses on Youths from Abroad

About one-fifth of Jewish boys and girls who have come from other countries to Israel in the last 15 years for summer study courses conducted by the Jewish Agency have subsequently settled in Israel, the Agency announced here today. The total number of summer study participants from countries outside Israel in the 15 years has reached 32, 000, an Agency spokesman declared. This year, 3, 000 arrived here in 42 groups, taking part in summer courses lasting from six weeks to eight weeks.

The majority who come here for these summer courses — and for winter courses conducted for young people from the Southern Hemisphere countries in South America, or in South Africa and Australia — come to Israel at their own expense. The agency pays in Israel for their board, lodging and study trips inside Israel.

According to the Agency spokesman, the youths who come here for summer study represent widely-varying segments of the Jewish populations in their countries. They range from Hashomer Hatzair, affiliated with groups of left wing trends, to the religious Bnai Akivah group, Reform and Conservative congregations, community centers and youth clubs. Many are Bar Mitzvah boys. The spokesman added that, among those who come here for study, are many university students who “in recent years, tend to stay here for longer periods.”

This year, he said, the migration to Israel includes thousands of educators and instructors in community and Zionist organizations, “ranging in age from 17 to 70.” “Experience,” said the spokesman, “shows that these summer courses have a strong impact, not only on those who attend them but also upon others whom these students contact back home upon their return. Interest is awakened, and the sense of Jewish identity is strengthened.”

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