Despite rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, 6,000 young Jews, ages 18 to 26, have arrived in Israel in the last few weeks to be part of a 10-day “summer in Israel” experience (“Witnesses to Conflict,” July 18).
“Seven groups arrived on July 24 from North America,” said Gail Hyman of Birthright, the organization which has sent almost 400,000 Jews on such free educational trips to Israel. Out of the 6,000 sent “since the conflict began, … only 10 people left early.”
She said the Birthright program has made adjustments to ensure the safety of participants. Flights were switched to Israel’s national airline,
El Al, and itineraries are being adjusted based on consultations with Israeli security officials.
Of course, about 30 percent of the people who had signed up for the trip dropped out and postponed coming to Israel because of the fighting, but the 70 percent who did come will return home with a much greater feeling of commitment to Israel as a result of being there in a time of tension.
Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Culver City, Calif.