On Wednesday evening, Birthright Israel celebrated its 18th birthday with its largest event ever, with a total of approximately 6,000 participants from different countries and 1,500 soldiers from different IDF units.
In addition, Hatikvah 6 and Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai took part at the event with a special performance. In addition to the musical performances, the ceremony included an award ceremony for IDF units excelling in promoting the activity of Birthright Israel within the IDF.
The event, held in the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem, was attended by philanthropists Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Birthright Israel Co-founder Charles Bronfman, CEO Gidi Mark, Knesset members, and donors and friends of the project, including Birthright Israel’s Foundation Mission, the largest donors' delegation in its history.
This summer, Birthright Israel also marks another significant milestone - the arrival of 33,000 participants from 33 countries in Israel.
Speaking at the event, Mark said, "I would like to personally thank the people who make it happen: the visionary Dr. Yossie Beilin, the founder Charles Bronfman and of course, Dr. Miri and Sheldon Adelson who’ve taken us to new heights. And thank you Chief Education Officer Brigadier General Fire-Eisen, Tom Stern, Chairman of the Birthright Israel Foundation, and Meir Shamir who together with Ro’i Ben Yami established the Israeli Board of donors. They work night and day to make Birthright Israel the largest most successful educational project in the in the Jewish world."
"And most importantly, join me in thanking the soldiers that could not be here because they are busy defending the state of Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a special recorded greeting for the event: "Birthright Israel is a life changing experience for so many. Young man and women see the miracle of Israel for the first time often, and first-hand. They take pride in our democracy and our land of opportunity and become active participants in the greatest story ever told - the rebirth of the Jewish People."
"I thank all the participants and supporters around the world. I look forward to another 18 years and beyond of Birthright Israels' great success – Mazal Tov – congratulations!"