HABR | Whose Right? The Question of Birthright

Many organizations promote Birthright, a free 10-day trip to Israel for Jewish young adults, with the mission of “build[ing] a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel.” These trips are offered in many themes, ranging from hiking trips and art trips to LGBTQ trips. They offer tours of Israel, allowing participants to explore the country, meet Israeli Defense Force soldiers and visit the rapidly expanding settlements. Birthright trips have become extremely popular, attracting more than 400,000 participants since the program’s creation in 1999. Birthright has inspired many similar trips, some of which also focus on creating solidarity between historically oppressed people such as Armenian and Irish communities, and others that focus on bringing certain groups together to their homelands, such as Greek, Hungarian and Icelandic birthright trips. It is a noble and important idea to unite and foster connections between groups that share a certain identity, especially ones that have been historically oppressed, but it is important to consider the implications of such trips and the people they affect.