June 3, 2021
With elevated tensions and outright hostility targeted at Jewish people and Israel, Birthright Israel recognizes its responsibility to address the issues and to maintain a discourse on the subject with trip participants, while maintaining an objective, educational posture.
Open dialogue has been and continues to be a central aspect of the Birthright Israel program.
We are sharing an opinion piece written by Professor Gil Troy, Chair of Taglit-Birthright Israel’s International Education Committee, who explains the non-partisan approach of the Birthright Israel program, which makes it a success. To quote Troy:
“Focusing on identity, on peoplehood, and on eternal questions is difficult when Israel is attacked, when Americans are at each other’s throats, and when universities often impose doctrines rather than nurture critical thinkers. But that makes initiatives like Birthright even more important, and may be one of the secrets of its success.”
We are also sharing a piece written by Dr. Zohar Raviv, international vice president of educational strategy at Taglit-Birthright Israel. He penned a very compelling opinion piece in this week’s E-Jewish Philanthropy. In the piece, he writes:
“My identity as a Jew, an Israeli and a Zionist is solid and unwavering, irrespective of my current stand on multiple challenges that we all face as members of the Jewish people, both in and outside of Israel. As an educator, however, I believe that our mandate lies not with “what people think,” but rather with “how people think” — offering tools for critically sound processes that may assist in forming whatever opinions, responsibly.”