Programs like Birthright have received a lot of attention. Do they really work? Does it make a difference if you bring young adults to Israel to see the country first hand? Apparently it does. The Jewish News found that 54% of first-time visitors from England to Israel had an improved impression of the country after being there. The survey was a combined initiative by the newspaper and EasyJet.
As easyJet explained, “Our research, in conjunction with the Jewish News, has helped us better understand why passengers choose Tel Aviv. The most striking finding was the destination’s growing popularity with young travelers who viewed it as a relaxing, beach destination. One of the reasons for launching new flights from Gatwick is because Tel Aviv’s appeal has been growing.”
Daniel Taub, in an Op-Ed that accompanied the survey, said that the results confirm “the troubling fact that widely-held perceptions of Israel are disconnected from, and far more negative, than the reality. The fact is that the majority of people will never visit Israel and their inaccurate preconceptions are unlikely to be corrected.”
He said that the survey raised two important questions. Daniel Taub’s questions were: “If more than half of visitors to Israel are so pleasantly surprised by what they see with their own eyes, can the media truly be fulfilling its responsibility to present that reality accurately?” and “If the reality is truly Israel’s greatest ally, what more can we do to enable people to experience the reality of Israel?”