Netanyahu: More cash for Birthright

By Jessica Elgot, January 13, 2011

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the government will give more than £64m to Taglit-Birthright so that more young Jews can visit Israel for the first time.

UJIA, which co-ordinates the British tours, said the money would have a direct impact on extra places for British participants, although it could not confirm how much extra funding the UK would receive.

Eighty British students and young professionals were among 3,000 winter Birthright participants last week who heard the prime minister make the announcement of an extra $100m in funding over three years.

Mr Netanyahu made his pledge at a Birthright "Mega Event" in Jerusalem to mark the movement's 10th anniversary.

UJIA Birthright co-ordinator Royi Gutkin said: "As a direct result of this pledge, we hope to be able to offer additional tours to our already over-subscribed summer and winter trips to Israel. In 2010, over 600 young people from the UK registered. However, due to limited funds, we could only accommodate 280 participants. We expect that 2011 will be a record-breaking year, so this is especially good news."

Founded by Michael Steinhardt and Lynn Schusterman, the organisation sends young Jews who have never been on organised tours to Israel on a free, educational 10-day trip to the country.

Organisers hope 51,000 participants worldwide will now go on the trips every year. This year 30,000 were denied a place due to lack of funding.

Last updated: 5:15pm, January 13 2011