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Birthright Israel’s Connection to Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut

May 7, 2019 at 7:05 am
by Birthright Israel Foundation
Birthright Israel's Mifgash

Every year, Israelis and Jews worldwide come together to commemorate and celebrate two important days on the calendar: Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day). On these days we remember the sacrifice of our soldiers over the last 71 years and we celebrate the triumph that is the State of Israel. We are truly a nation of resilience.

Annually, Birthright Israel sends more than 48,000 young Jewish adults to experience Israel and to connect to their Judaism. One of the most transformative elements of the Birthright Israel program is the Mifgash (“encounter”); five to ten days where Israeli participants join their Diaspora peers and show them what it means to personally contribute to your country and celebrate it with great pride.

“I realized that my work as a soldier was more than defending the land of Israel. I found a higher purpose in fighting for people like my Birthright Israel friends and the collective Jews around the world. Perhaps I would have never come to this conclusion without my Birthright Israel experience. Regardless of where we are born and the color of our skin, we all have one shared history.”

– Shavit, Mifgash Participant

Using the Land of Israel as its classroom, the Mifgash program helps to strengthen Jewish identity and deepen connections to the land and the values of the Jewish people. Young Israelis—primarily IDF soldiers, but also university students and professionals from the private sector—have taken part in the trip to gain a greater understanding of Israel, Judaism, their own Jewish heritage and the global Jewish community at large.

Birthright Israel continues to see the impact of including Israeli with Diaspora participants on each trip. The Mifgash delivers an intimate and highly personal dynamic that provides the participants with opportunities to explore and understand the complex issues of Israel’s participation in the world. Birthright Israel participants come away with the ability to tackle controversial subjects with a greater sense of confidence, largely as a result of the Mifgash.

The Mifgash “Encounter”

  • 78% felt “very strongly” that the program strengthened the importance of their army service.
  • 83% felt that Birthright Israel contributed to their understanding of Jewish life in the Diaspora.
  • 88% reported that it is “extremely” important to continue the Birthright Israel program
  • 95% were extremely happy with the program.
  • 100,000 young Israelis have participated in being a Mifgash.
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