Israel to fund up to 1/3 of Birthright business and tech program


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli government will fund one-third of a Birthright Israel program for students interested in business and technology.

The Birthright Israel Excel program was launched in 2011 and includes an all-expense paid 10-week internship program in Israel.

In addition to the business track, Birthright Excel launched the Ventures track this year, which focuses on entrepreneurs. Participants in the Ventures program work in an accelerator environment starting from initial creation to an early stage proof of concept and are mentored by leading figures in the Israeli startup community.

The Excel program connects high-performing college students and recent graduates with leading businesspeople in Israel. The program offers opportunities to work in a wide range of fields including finance, venture capital, consulting, cybersecurity, high-tech, bio-tech and venture creation. More than 230 young adults have participated to date and the program is currently supported by The Steinhardt Family Foundation, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and The Paul E. Singer Foundation.

The Prime Minister’s Office earlier this month signed an agreement to contribute up to one-third of the funds required to support the Birthright Israel Excel program.

“We are pleased that the Israeli government has recognized the strength and potential of our Excel program,” said Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark. “This added support will allow the program to connect even more Jewish young adults with their Israeli peers and leading entrepreneurs in Israel in order to create life-long career, business and networking opportunities for them.”

Excel alumni currently are working in companies including Amazon, JP Morgan, Google, WeWork, Yelp, Morgan Stanley and Etsy, among others.

The program holds an annual leadership conference, which brings together Excel alumni and connects them with prominent business leaders, politicians and educators.

Since 2000, Birthright Israel has provided free trips to more than 500,000 Jewish young adults aged 18-26 with the goal of strengthening Jewish identity, facilitating cultural understanding and fostering solidarity with Israel and its people.


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