For the past 18 years, Taglit-Birthright Israel has offered Jews from 67 countries across the world a free trip to visit Israel, claiming that it is their “birthright” to visit the country.
Various periodic schemes are set up to allow Jews, 80 percent of accepted applicants being from the US and Canada, to visit Israel and go on trips and tour the country.
Eligible individuals are those who have at least one parent of a recognized Jewish descent and the applicant must not be actively practicing another religion.
But peace group Jewish Voice for Peace has launched a campaign encouraging Jews to boycott the free birthright trip.
“Since 1999, the Birthright Israel program has sent over 500,000 Jewish young adults on a free ten-day trip to Israel, in the name of strengthening Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish state”, Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement.
As young Jews, we recognize that Israel is not our birthright. In 1948, Zionist militias expelled over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages, an act of ethnic cleansing, known by Palestinians as the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, that cleared the land for the creation of the modern-day state of Israel.”
They launched a campaign on social media under the hashtag #ReturnTheBirthright, which despite the controversy, did see many young Jews rethink the idea of the morality of taking a free trip while native Palestinians are unalbe to return to their homelands.
I did Birthright as a young Zionist, & I bear personal responsibility for displacement & dehumanization of Palestinians #ReturnTheBirthright
— Liza Behrendt (@lizaveta9) September 1, 2017
Top photo | Israeli soldiers and relatives of new Jewish immigrants from the U.S. and Canada, wave Israeli flags to welcome them as they arrive at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
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