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Taglit Record: 1,600 Participants Arrive In 1 Day

Birthright program brings record number in 39 groups from around the world, aims to connect young Jews to Israel.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/30/2013, 6:25 PM

Taglit participants
Taglit participants
Assaf Lev
Taglit-Birthright Israel brought a record-breaking 1,600 participants to Israel on Monday. Program participants came in 39 groups from around the world, all on the same day.

 At a special reception held at Ben Gurion Airport, Taglit CEO Gidi Mark and Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau welcomed the young participants.

"It is exciting to be able to bring to Israel thousands of young Jews, many of which have never been here," said Mark.

Meanwhile, Landau had a message for the young visitors. "When you return home, take with you the true Israel; the unfiltered one. Tell your friends, family and those around you about what Israel is," he said.

Participants came to visit Israel from the US, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany and Russia.

"The sparkles in your eyes remind me of how special and exciting this country is and how much you all will experience as you travel in the coming days," added Landau. "I'm sure this trip will change your lives. Israel will always be a home for you- either as tourists, immigrants or as Jewish Zionists."

Over 350,000 young adults have come to Israel through Taglit in the past 13 years. The program aims to connect young Jews to the state of Israel and their Jewish identity through a free 10 day tour of the country.

Studies conducted at Brandeis University, located outside of Boston, have shown the lasting effect the program has on participants in terms of strengthening their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel, and their ability to promote the country.

The new record for Taglit comes at the end of a year (2013) in which 19,200 Jews made aliyah (emigrated to Israel), marking a 7% increase from 2012.

Uzi Landau, Gidi Mark and Taglit participants Assaf Lev

Gidi Mark (left) and Uzi Landau Assaf Lev

Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit Assaf Lev