Birthright Has Contributed Close to $1B. to Israel’s Economy

economic impactTaglit-Birthright Israel, and its 350,000 program participants, have had a significant, and quantifiable, impact of more than $850 million on Israel’s economy. This, according to a first-ever independent study released by the global accounting firm of Ernest & Young.

The report said that direct contributions such as travel, admissions and tour guides in Israel totaled $565 million. The breakdown included $228 million to ELAL/foreign airlines, $59 million to hotels, $41 million for meals, $28 million for bus transportation, $38 million site admissions/guided tours, and $72 million for security/related resources. An additional $100 million was paid for activities such as the Taglit-Birthright Israel training institute for tour educators, Excel summer internship program, Genesis enrichment program for Russian speakers, Mifgashim with Israeli soldiers and students, Holocaust seminars with Yad Vashem and the BRI extension program.

There were also indirect contributions from participants’ local spending, and long-term and unquantifiable contributions such as trip extensions and return trips, totaling $260 million equaling $50 million for trip extensions, $150 million for gifts, souvenirs, food and beverages, and $60 million from those who made Aliyah or return trips.

All amounts are in U.S. dollars and were spent during Birthright’s first 13 years.

“For years we have conducted research showing our program’s effectiveness in promoting Jewish continuity. With this study, we validate the important contribution we make to the Israeli economy,” said Taglit CEO Gidi Mark. “This study shows the critical role we play as one of the leading tour operators in the country and the positive impact we make on businesses in Israel.”

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  1. isn’t the $850,000,000 all money given by schusterman, adelson, steinhardt, etc.? only the additional “indirect contributions” of $260,000,000 is actual birthright-related spending. that comes to about $20,000,000 a year. israel tourism does about $4,000,000,000 annually. so, birthright participants contribute about 1/2% a year…… (the overall percentage include the big donors money – which they could contribute here in many other ways – is about 20%)

  2. I made a mistake. The annual of the big donors is 1.6% and not 20%. Sorry!

  3. Neil Gillman says:

    The money comes from the big donors, Federations and the Government of Israel. Realistically if the money wasn’t coming to Israel through birthright then the majority of it would stay in the US or elsewhere.

    In the dark days of the intifada birthright kept coming whilst other tourism dried up. In addition, a large number of people make a living from birthright – tour guides, bus drivers etc – services which your average tourist doesn’t use and certainly not for 10 days at a time.

    Lastly there is an additional income that isn’t taken into consideration here – those birthright alumni who come back for additional visits, often, but certainly not exclusively, longer term programs within the framework of MASA (and who are visited by their parents whilst on those programs), who would not have considered Israel as a destination without that initial visit.

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