I think Birthright provides an exceptional opportunity for a certain group of young Jews - those who not only have never been to Israel, but those who also would otherwise never in a million years have the opportunity to go on such a trip. You're correct that "there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all Israeli experience," but that isn't significant to these young adults who go on Birthright... because these are not the young adults that you describe as the "minority," the ones who "in a few years from now will be the real opinion-makers and leaders, are either already involved and informed." And you know why? Because those young Jews, the minority, have already been to Israel and aren't eligible for Birthright in the first place. They have other opportunities to go to Israel, and they are most likely well informed about the options out there. Although I do agree, your ideas for a joint Israel-Diaspora global relief work project or a worldwide year-long program of Jewish studies comprised of exceptional students, are fantastic ideas. But regardless, they are irrelevant to the Birthright discussion because those types of programs are not programs for the majority of those interested in Birthright. Not every young Jew is part of this elite, intelligent class of people determined to change the world. And that's okay. We can't have a world full of leaders. Followers are just as valuable, no? If every Birthright trip transforms let's say 50% of its participants into active pro-Israel activists, or at least gets these young Jews invested in their Judaism and in Israel, then I think it succeeds in its mission. The simple fact is this: these kids aren't going to get to Israel if it weren't for Birthright. And that's a wonderful gift.
Man shot dead in northern Israel town of Bi'ina, police say the murder was gang related (Haaretz)
from the article: Birthright Israel tours are insulting young Jews' intelligence