What is the difference between Birthright Israel Foundation and Birthright Israel?

Birthright Israel Foundation aims to raise the funds needed to send Jewish young adults to Israel on an educational and experiential journey of a lifetime through Birthright Israel. Together, we stand firmly behind our joint mission and vision to help Jewish young adults feel more connected to the State of Israel and to the future of the Jewish people.

Is traveling to Israel safe?

Yes. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, 4.9 million people visited Israel in 2019. This is a 12% increase from 2018 and most tourists, nearly one million are American. According to Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide publisher, Israel is generally a safe place to travel and violent crime against tourists is rare.

How safe is it to travel to Israel with Birthright Israel?

In over two decades with 850,000+ participants, Birthright Israel has never had a security issue. The safety and security of the participants is of our utmost concern. Below are the measures we take to ensure the safety and security of all groups:

  • A tour educator, two staff members, a medic, and at least one trained security guard accompany all trips.
  • Participants travel as a group by tour bus, never via public transportation.
  • All trips, tour bus companies, and drivers are subject to strict safety standards.
  • Birthright Israel only works with accredited members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • Should the need arise, itineraries will be changed to ensure participant safety.

Please visit Birthright Israel’s Information Center to read more about the safety and security of trips.

How does Birthright Israel view pluralism?

Birthright Israel’s motto is simple: We seek unity without uniformity! The diverse makeup of participants is seen as a great asset and the ultimate example of Jewish pluralism. Birthright Israel’s approach is to offer each participant an equal opportunity to share and voice their feelings and opinions about Judaism, Israel, and identity—no matter what their personal background, political views, religious beliefs or practices, sexual orientation, gender identity, and so on. Birthright Israel is 100 percent pluralistic, inclusive, and does not endorse any ideological, party, or religious line.

Is Birthright Israel an apolitical organization?

Unequivocally, yes. Birthright Israel is committed to the State of Israel as a sovereign, Jewish, and democratic state, and upholds its standing as the historic and eternal homeland of the Jewish people. Within that framework, Birthright Israel refrains from any political or ideological partisanship. Birthright Israel promotes a culture of open, safe, pluralistic, and meaningful dialogue and seeks to unite Jewish young adults and build strong connections to the State of Israel.

Do the parents of trip alums donate to Birthright Israel Foundation?

When a trip participant returns home, their new-found love of Israel and connection to their roots is often felt deeply by their parents. When the magic jumps from the participant to the parent, it’s a little something we here at Birthright Israel Foundation like to call the “birthright bounce.”

Parents feel the effects of their child’s experience so deeply that year after year they pay it forward—making it possible for another young adult to claim their birthright. Birthright Israel Foundation is tremendously grateful to this profound group of committed individuals who donate a significant amount to ensure a vibrant Jewish future for all.

Why is Birthright Israel free even for participants who can afford to travel to Israel on their own?

Birthright Israel was launched as a manifestation of great Jewish values, including community building and cross-generational responsibility. As such, Birthright Israel is a gift that is offered to any eligible Jewish young adult, irrespective of their personal financial situation. Maintaining these founding values is vital, and we believe that even those who can afford the trip will eventually “pay it forward” by joining our donor family and investing in the continued success of Birthright Israel.

Additionally, choosing to go on a Birthright Israel trip may be the first Jewish-oriented decision that many young people make on their own, without parental involvement. As travel has become more accessible, we know that Israel may not be a first-choice destination for today’s young adults. We believe that taking out the financial commitment—and ensuring this trip is a gift—levels the playing field for young adults, making the decision to travel to Israel and connect with their heritage as easy as possible.

Is it true Birthright Israel currently has a waiting list?

Yes. In 2023, due to rising prices as a result of inflation, the cost to send one participant increased 30%. Consequently, only 23,500 young Jews are able to participate in Birthright Israel’s classic 10-day trip, compared to 35,000 in 2022 and 48,000 pre-COVID.

For the summer of 2023, there were 32,000 applicants for only 12,000 North American seats, leaving 20,000 behind. We are also seeing higher demand for Birthright Israel Onward programs and Birthright Israel Excel. In 2023, Onward received over 4,400 applicants for an estimated 3,200 available spots.

If we want to ensure that as many as possible can go this year and in the future, we need to act now. We must raise the extra funds necessary so we can reserve the proper amount of hotels, flights, and staff, as these preparations are made close to a year in advance.

The trip sounds great, but what happens after participants return home?

The mission of Birthright Israel is to provide participants with a life-changing educational experience in Israel, and in order to increase impact, trip follow-up starts the moment participants get home. We partner with and support many Jewish organizations—including Moishe House, Hillel, AIPAC, local federations and others—so that they can help trip alums continue their Jewish journey.

Additionally, Birthright Israel Foundation is working with colleagues in Israel on a post-trip engagement app. The goal of the app is to provide alums with a visually engaging marketplace of curated content from our partners, as well as engagement opportunities at home, on campus, and in their communities.

What are the eligibility requirements for Birthright Israel?

The gift of Birthright Israel is available to all Jewish young adults, ages 18-26 who have not participated on an educational trip since they turned 18 nor lived in Israel past the age of 12. Eligibility requirements are:

  • Identify as Jewish and are recognized as such by their local community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism.
  • Have at least one Jewish birth parent, or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination.

Donate Now

Without your donations to Birthright Israel Foundation, this gift isn’t possible. Secure the Jewish future today by investing in this transformational trip for Jewish young adults.