President Isaac Herzog on Sunday evening addressed the annual Taglit-Birthright Israel gala event, this year marking Israel’s 75 years of independence.
“Tonight we are celebrating an impressive and truly amazing project that has brought together a million Jewish youth from the Diaspora,” said Herzog. “Each nation has deep-rooted aspects of their identity and character—and the Jewish people have a profound connection to their national home, the State of Israel.”
This connection, he continued, was “tangible, immense and profound. It helps build the crucial bond within the Jewish people, a small nation facing immense challenges both externally with many communities worldwide, and internally within its own nation-state, which itself faces numerous challenges. It is important to integrate the story of the Jewish people into the story of the State of Israel.”
Philanthropist and Israel Hayom publisher Dr. Miriam Adelson, who together with her husband the late Sheldon Adelson, through the Adelson Family Foundation, have contributed nearly $500 million to Birthright Israel in the past 15 years, was awarded a certificate of appreciation at the event.
“The investment in Taglit is an investment in our children, grandchildren, and all future generations,” said Adelson. “My late husband Sheldon Adelson and I used to say that Taglit is the highest-yielding investment: the eternity of the Jewish people. Taglit has brought close to a million people here so far, and each one of them will say that Taglit has changed their lives, and each one of them is more determined to defend Israel. This is a path that needs to be nurtured, and the more people who walk on it, the better.”
Taglit CEO Gidi Mark also addressed the gathering.
“This year we see greater importance than ever in the annual Taglit gala event. We are experiencing an unprecedented demand for registration, and in addition to the 25,000 participants who will come for tours in Israel by the end of the year, there is a waiting list of around 25,000 more young people whom we are unable to accommodate without additional resources,” he said.
“Taglit creates tens of thousands of ambassadors for the State of Israel every year, who continue to serve as a growing support network for Israel worldwide,” he added.
To date, 850,000 Jewish youngsters visited Israel as part of the Birthright program.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
(Additional reporting provided by JNS Reporter)
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