JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 28,000 young Jewish adults will visit Israel through the Taglit-Birthright Israel program this summer, the organization announced.
Also during the summer, the 15-year-old program will welcome its 500,000th participant.
Prior to 2000, about 1,500 Jewish American young adults visited Israel each year, according to Taglit-Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.
“In our first year, we brought 9,000-plus participants. Today, we have increased that number to nearly 45,000 participants annually from around the world,” Mark said.
Taglit-Birthright Israel provides a free 10-day trip to Israel for Jews aged 18 to 26.
Between May and September, participants will arrive in Israel from the United States, Canada, France, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Panama, UK, Spain, India, Netherland, Hungary, and South Africa.
American students who have participated in Birthright have come from all 50 states and over 1,000 college campuses, according to the organization.
Funding for the program comes from private philanthropists and thousands of individual donors, the government of Israel and Jewish communities around the world through Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency of Israel.