More than 4,000 young Jews participated on Monday evening at the opening event of this year’s “Masa Journey” project in Jerusalem.
Masa provides pro-Israel community and activities in a one-year program framework. The 2015-2016 year is expected to be a record year for the organization, which was established in 2004 by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency, with more than 12,000 young people taking part, an increase of 7% from last year and a record high since the organization was founded.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at Monday’s event, telling the young Jews that they are the leaders of the Jewish people and urging to return to Israel in the future – this time for good.
“We are in Jerusalem, which is the heart of our nation – our roots are from here. This where the humanitarian and moral values arrived. We never forgot that this is our land and always wanted to return to it. That's what you did,” he said.
“You all have smartphones – parts of them were manufactured in Israel, medications you are taking were manufactured in Israel, you eat tomatoes that were grown here,” continued Netanyahu. “The Jewish mind comes with the Jewish heart. You come here specializing in high-tech, medical interns, teachers – you are witnessing firsthand the greatness of this country.”
"When we look a little farther to the Middle East, we see completely different things,” he said. “When you see them you understand that Israel is indeed a light unto the nations. You are the Jewish leaders of tomorrow. We have a shared responsibility for the future of the Jewish people – the future of the Jewish people is related to the future of the Jewish state. I know you understand this. This journey will leave you more connected to yourself and to the State of Israel. I ask you to come back here – not to visit Israel, but to make it your home. Israel is the home of all Jews. As the Prime Minister of the only country of the Jews, I promise you that every Jew from any stream has a place here. Welcome to Israel and to Masa. Stay here with us."