Wednesday, 08 February 2017

Make aliyah a success, minister tells Birthright participants

Think big, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tells 1,000 young Jewish adults as he shares his unique story, from moving to Israel as a young student to becoming senior minister • "You too have the possibility of achieving anything you choose," he says.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman attended a Birthright Israel event in Jerusalem on Tuesday and told around 1,000 young Jewish adults from the former Soviet Union that his successful integration in Israeli life can be replicated many times over.

"Just as I arrived here as a young student from Kishinev and went on to assume some of the most prominent positions in the State of Israel, you too have the possibility of achieving anything you choose and accomplish, anything you set your mind to," he told the participants, who are on Birthright's 10-day educational tour of Israel.

Lieberman made aliyah in 1978 and joined the Knesset two decades later after founding Yisrael Beytenu. His past ministerial positions include deputy prime minister, foreign minister, and strategic affairs minister, in multiple governments.

Other speakers at the event included Gidi Mark, international CEO of Birthright Israel, and Dorit Golender, vice president of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

"I believe each and every Jew should be exposed to modern Israel and its culture in addition to the country's ancient history and heritage, and we are particularly excited for this unique event, celebrating the Russian speaking participants, who get to explore Israel for themselves," Mark told the audience.

Golender noted that "for the past eight years of our collaboration with Birthright Israel we have developed a unique program, specifically tailored to meet the needs and interests of Russian-speaking young Jews. We view the 10-day trip as an opportunity for you to begin a much greater journey, a Jewish journey that will last a lifetime."

According to a statement released by Birthright Israel, the event was "part of a comprehensive partnership between Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, intended to provide Russian-speaking participants with various enrichment experiences while they are in Israel."

According to Birthright Israel, more than 500,000 Jews from over 66 countries have taken part in the program since its inception in 1999.