Masa welcomes new fellows demand for long-term programs in Israel rise

There has been a rise in demand for programs in Israel for the young Jewish Diaspora, according to Masa Israel Journey.The organization, founded by the Jewish Agency and the Government of Israel, launched its 16th year of programming on Monday during an online opening event hosting thousands of new fellows entering their new programs – and featuring a performance by Israeli musical duo Static and Ben-El.“We are very happy and excited to take part in the event organized by Masa, which connects the Jewish community from all corners together,” the group said. “For us, it is very special to perform on one stage in front of thousands of people in Israel and all over the world at the same time. Welcome to the thousands who came to Israel and to all those who saw us around the world. Yalla, we are waiting for you in Israel!”Static and Ben-El (Masa Israel Journey)Static and Ben-El (Masa Israel Journey)Fellows came from around the globe including North America, Europe, the Former Soviet Union, South Africa, Australia, Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.”Every year, Masa brings young Jews from across the globe to Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the online opening. “In doing so, Masa give thousands the chance to connect with the reality of Israeli society, to strengthen their Jewish identity, and to deepen their relationship with Israel and the Jewish people. Israel is a young country, where young people are making a real difference.””From e-commerce to hybrid cuisine, from startup companies to development work abroad, from self-driving vehicles to green energy, young Israelis are changing this country and changing this world for the better,” he added. “Israel is the cradle of the Jewish past. Israel is where the Jewish future is being forged. And if you want to be a part of that future, if you want to have an impact upon that future, Israel is the place to be. Welcome home.”

The Masa organization is sponsored by the government and the Jewish Agency. It offers young Jewish adults the chance to experience Israel through various programs.Masa Career places college and university graduates from abroad in five-month professional internship programs with Israeli companies and organizations, providing participants with work experience and a chance to boost their resume.Masa Gap offers a variety of programs for post high-school youth centered around volunteering, interning, or studying initiatives.Many of the recent Masa Gap participants arrived in Israel in August and September and another large influx of Masa Career participants is expected to arrive in the coming months.The organization brings around 12,000 fellows to Israel each year to participate in its diverse array of programs. Some 30% of them have chosen to make aliyah.Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a 15 % increase overall in applications for courses and tracks it offers young diaspora Jews, a 36% increase in demand for internship programs and a 40% increase for gap year programs. There are, at the moment, 7,500 Masa fellows located in the country, with thousands of other expected within the coming months.”This has been a challenging year for all of us, and while I hope that on this Festival of Lights we’ll begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I want to salute and applaud each and every one of the Masa fellows, for choosing to come to Israel during this difficult period, to connect and contribute to Israeli society,” said Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog. “This is a true expression of the value of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Lazeh, all of Israel is responsible for one another, and I deeply appreciate it.”Masa Acting CEO, Ofer Gutman added, “I am happy that despite the coronavirus pandemic, we are opening Masa’s 16th programming year. The thousands of Fellows, who have arrived in Israel this year, are a testament to the deep commitment of young Jews from around the world to Israel and their desire to make an impact
and connect to their roots.””I believe that this event, designed to connect the different ends of the Jewish global community, provides an unforgettable, exciting, and powerful experience,” Gutman concluded. “I am proud of our activities and that we continue to be the primary organization to bring the global Jewish community to Israel during this challenging period.”

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.


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