I just went on a Birthright trip in January- I cannot stress enough how much the experience changed my views on Israel. Despite the fact that I have been hearing about Israel since I was about three years old, it didn't mean anything to me because it was a far off place that frankly seemed imaginary. Before the trip, I would have said I was pro-Israel, but then again, did that really mean anything? I had never experienced the Jewish homeland for myself. Now that I have been to Israel, Israel really means something to me. I hang a large Israeli flag in my room and am proud to call myself a Zionist and a Jew. I read Israeli news almost obsessively, because I understand that these are real events that affect real people. I am studying abroad in Tel Aviv this fall because ten days wasn't enough in a country to which I felt such deep connection. It's insulting for you to generalize about the types of Birthright participants and the experiences we have; while we certainly did enjoy the Israeli party scene, it had its merits, just like touring the Old City had its merits. When we went to clubs with our Israeli soldiers, it showed us that despite the complexities and hardships that Israelis face on a daily basis, the kids that serve in the IDF are the same as us; they want to have fun and enjoy the years in their prime. I think your problem is that you fail to see our perspective. It is easy for you to look down from your high horse and dismiss us as disinterested youths who are "seeking the next thrill." But what you fail to realize is that simply walking the land and being among the Jewish people is enough to offer a profound impact on many participants.
- 7:40 AM
from the article: Birthright Israel tours are insulting young Jews' intelligence