Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub has launched Taglit-Birthright Israel’s new “UK awareness campaign” at an event celebrating the group’s 13th anniversary.
Mr Taub congratulated the Jerusalem-based organisation on its “barmitzvah”, stating that it was “one of the unusual, ambitious and effective projects in Jewish history”.
Since it was founded, Taglit-Birthright has arranged free tours of Israel for over 340,000 young people from all over the world.
Professor Ada Spitzer, the organisation’s vice president of development and community relations, said: “One of the goals of the new campaign is to increase the numbers of participants from the UK substantially, from 200 to 700 youngsters a year.”
Speaking at the launch, held at the ambassador’s residence in London, Esther Thorn-Gent, a university student from Devon who had recently returned from a tour, said: “I connected to my religion. I felt alive in Jerusalem. It touched my soul.”
Matthew Kefton, who works for the United Jewish Israel Appeal, told guests that before his trip, “I knew nothing of my Jewish identity. It was an inspiring trip. It sounds cheesy, but Taglit-Birthright Israel changed my life.”