The "purpose" of Birthright - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • The fool who follows him
    • 29.04.11 | 15:24 (IDT)

    Aside from the hundreds of millions of dollars the program draws into the state of Israel annually, ignoring the obvious political motivation of having tens of thousands of young Americans walking around various college campuses providing Israel with free positive advertising, setting aside the subtext of placing hormonally charged American collegiate youth alongside their Israeli counterparts in uniform (expecting the obvious to occur), what could possibly make one think to believe that Birthright is not focusing on its target audience? Those young Jews in the United States who are already motivated, who are apart of programs aimed at encouraging a continued pro-Israeli movement in the United States, will exist whether the Birthright program provides "free" trips to Israel or not (Not to discredit their importance in any way, on the contrary, we should place more praise upon their efforts). However, Birthright's continued existence relies on those Americans who find the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll with Jews in Israel,” appealing. I am in the unique position of having heard stories from interviewers of the American interviewees for spots on the tour, individuals who are shocked to discover that Europe is not a country, nor is Paris or London for that matter. That Israel is not a part of Europe, and that no, they will not be able to hold the automatic rifle (thank goodness for that). Furthermore, given the right amount of time and attempts at participating on the program, EVERY person who applies and is eligible will ultimately go on the trip. Very rarely will one discover an applicant who has applied more than 4 or 5 times, and considering that there are two trips a year, and one is eligible until one's 27th birthday, well, I don't need to explain the math on that one. A program that practically guarantees a free trip to another country to EVERY eligible applicant is unheard of outside of prostitution and general human trafficking! The Birthright program works. It works very well. It is hitting its target audience with gusto and despite the preference to those Americans on the East coast versus the West (it's cheaper to fly from New York than Los Angeles, hence the disproportionate number of trips leaving from JFK over LAX), it is providing unheard of numbers of practically free trips to another country on the other side of the world to individuals who might never see such things. For heaven's sake, there are underprivileged residents of Los Angeles that have never seen a beach, and Pfeffer is complaining about the ineffectiveness of Birthright? Lastly, with numbers as outstanding as Birthright's, and appealing to those who are in college, statistically speaking, some of them are bound to either be from money, or will someday find themselves with enough where they feel a modest donation to the Birthright program, where they were able to have fun, travel the world, drink under age (according to American standards), and hook up with that hot Israeli soldier, might be a worth while investment. I'd like to meet a 19 year old American who finds those prospects unappealing. Pfeffer, you are right, we are all barking up the wrong tree. Maybe we should simply give up our day jobs and exploit those talented individuals who will work for Israel's continued existence, without pay, without sleep, and without a free trip to Israel instead. Rather than the incompetent booze hounds with access to ludicrous amounts of cash and blind support for Israel on their home campuses. O, and yeah, in an ever secularizing world society whose Jews still identify and adhere to Jewish principles and values without radical extremism, should we support programs that indoctrinate those supportive youth to being more traditionally Jewish. I'm sure that's a solid investment in a capitalist society. Sure has worked well in Israel with the Haredim. . .

    from the article: Birthright Israel tours are insulting young Jews' intelligence
    First published 01:56 29.04.11 | Last updated 01:56 29.04.11
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