Birthright has been infiltrated
This morning Galei Tzahal, Israel Army Radio, broadcast a segment that described how some non-Jews have managed to participate, or “infiltrate” as the original report described, on Birthright trips to Israel. These weren’t people who may not be halakhically Jewish but have a Jewish identity or affiliation, rather, 100% Gentile. The segment criticized how Birthright in North America doesn’t ask for official documents in order to prove someone’s Jewishness, while in Eastern Europe more official proof is needed. It seems as if Galei Tzahal wants Birthright to check people’s Jewishness to the same extant as the Chief Rabbinate. The segment emphasized that Israeli taxpayers are partially subsidizing Birthright trips seemed to be part of the criticism, although I wonder if it may actually be a good way of promoting Israel among young people.
I thought that the report was ridiculous. It made it seem as if thousands of non-Jews are getting free trips to Israel at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer, whose government funds approximately half of Birthright costs. As Israeli satirical website Nonews wrote, “לאחר חשיפת הגויים בפרויקט ‘תגלית’ מותר לגלות: גויים הסתננו גם למכבי תל אביב” (“After the discovery of goyim on Birthright it is possible to reveal: Goyim have also infiltrated Maccabi Tel Aviv.”)