On the eve of Israel’s 70th anniversary, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson surprised the audience at the 18th annual Birthright Israel gala on Sunday night by announcing a $70 million donation to the project.
The Birthright Israel project, also known as Taglit in Hebrew, brings Jewish youths from around the world to Israel to foster a bond with the Jewish state.
“Before Israel was founded, my father always said he wished there was a place where Jewish people could live. He always wanted to go, but by the time I could send him, he said he was too old and too sick. I don’t want any kid to say they were too old or too sick to visit Israel,” Adelson told the 650 people in attendance.
In total, $125 million was raised at the Sunday night gala in New York.
The Adelsons, who received the Guardians of the Jewish Future Award, have to date contributed $410 million in support of Birthright Israel.
Since its inception in 2000, Birthright Israel has brought more than 600,000 Jewish youths and young adults to Israel.
Birthright Israel recently announced a new age category for the first time since the organization’s founding, offering a limited number of Birthright Israel trip options for 27- to 32-year-olds this summer season.