June 23, 2010
Source: Jerusalem Post
Haviv Rettig Gur writes in a Jerusalem Post exclusive: "After spending tens of millions of dollars in recent years to bring college-age Jewish youth on subsidized trips to Israel, the government and Jewish Agency are launching a major new effort to offer similar funding for high-schoolers. In recent days, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Jewish Agency have offered $2m. to the Lapid organization, an umbrella body of 27 trip providers for high school-age kids, to start a pilot funding mechanism that will offer financial assistance to Diaspora youth applying to Israel programs.
Together, Israel and the Jewish Agency have spent well over $100 million in recent years to help fund short-term trips through Taglit-Birthright Israel and long-term stays in the country in the framework of Masa.
Some 12,000 Diaspora youth come to Israel during their high school years, and a new plan being developed in the Jewish Agency hopes to help raise that number to some 20,000 annually in five years."