Birthright group
Birthright group Erez Uzir

Birthright Israel, the largest educational tourism organization in the world, and Onward Israel, the leading provider of mid-length immersive experiences for young adults in Israel, have merged.

Combining these two organizations strengthens Israel-Diaspora ties by providing expanded opportunities for more Jewish young adults to participate in travel, study, and professional development experiences.

By merging Birthright Israel’s 10-day educational tours and Excel Fellowship program with Onward’s longer-length internships, study and immersive living experiences, the organization will more effectively be able to reach young Jews around the world with a variety of engaging programmatic options, Birthright said in a statement.

The statement added that, "As a result of the merger, Onward Israel will become a program offered by Birthright Israel, with Gidi Mark continuing to serve as International CEO of Birthright. Ilan Wagner, formerly the CEO of Onward Israel, will become Vice President of Onward programs at Birthright."

"Our primary goal has always been to give every Jewish young adult around the world a trip to Israel in order to help strengthen identity and connection with Israel," said Mark. "The pandemic has been the greatest challenge we have faced on the road to achieving that goal, but by merging with Onward we take the next great step forward, ensuring that more young people have the opportunity to experience and develop a deeper relationship with Israel and its people."

"Despite the headwinds posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Birthright Israel is optimistic about 2022 and beyond. Birthright plans to resume trips in the spring for individuals who are vaccinated or have received a booster in the last six months," Birthright said.

Meanwhile, the organization continues to experience massive enthusiasm for future trips, with tens of thousands of individuals on the waiting list to participate.