Following a delay to the start of its tour process following the events of 7th October, UJIA has announced that Israel Tours will launch for summer 2024 with applications open from Monday February 12th.
UJIA Israel Experience, part of the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is financially and educationally supported by UJIA, has undertaken a detailed risk analysis with ground partners in Israel to make these experiences possible.
Following October 7th and its aftermath, UJIA Israel Experience is now ready to launch applications after taking legal advice in the UK, securing travel and medical insurance policies, and liaising with security officials and ground providers in Israel.
At least nine youth movements and organisations are set to offer programmes under the banner of UJIA Israel Experience and programmes will place a strong emphasis on volunteering, education, and social action projects.
An initial deposit will be required on application but given the exceptional circumstances of this year, should participants decide they no longer wish to go they can receive a full refund until March 18th.
UJIA CEO Mandie Winston said: “UJIA has continued to facilitate impactful volunteering and educational travel to Israel since October 7th for both adults and young people. We have been working hard to ensure that additional security measures and risk mitigations will be implemented by our ground partners.
“While the situation on the ground remains fluid and FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) travel guidance is in place due to the war, we are confident that a safe and meaningful Israel tour, led by youth movements and organisations in the UK, is feasible. This is critical for the future leadership pipeline of our community, especially now that we understand the negative impact of missed Israel Tours during the pandemic.”
Winston was also understanding of the exceptional circumstances and the decision facing young people and their parents of whether to apply.
She added: “We know the decision to send your child on an Israel Tour this summer is likely to be more difficult than usual. We encourage parents to come to their own decisions based on what is right for your child and family.”
Financial assistance for Israel Tour 2024 is available from UJIA through means tested bursaries.
Vadim Blumin, the head of delegation to the UK and western Europe at the Jewish Agency for Israel added: “UJIA Israel Experience has overseen Israel Tour for decades, working closely with a wide network of tour providers in Israel and the Israeli security services which means we have been able to operate safely during previous times of conflict and unrest.
“Giving young people meaningful, educational experiences connecting and engaging with Israel and its people is more important than ever. Israel is in need of a collective hug and understanding of the challenges we are facing. Running Israel Tours this summer is a great chance for the British Jewish community to show solidarity when it is needed most, along with the rest of global Jewry.”
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