After months of border closures and uncertainty, the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Israel Programs department were delighted to see the first group of Masa fellows depart from citiesaround Australia headed, finally, for Israel.
While Israel’s borders are still officially closed to foreign nationals, young Australians will now be able to experience Israel in 2021, and as an added bonus – receive their vaccinations upon arrival in Israel. Masa Israel received official permission from the Israeli Government and The Population and Immigration Authority to allow special entry permits exclusively for Masa fellows.
On Tuesday, following the exciting announcement, 18 Australians left for their gap year to Israel on the Bnei Akiva and Ohrsom programs with fellows from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. For the first time ever, the groups flew via Dubai – another advantage for Australians travelling to Israel since the signing of the Abraham Accords last year!
More participants will follow on a variety of university study, teaching, volunteer and career internship programs in the coming months looking to defer University and or travel abroad.
Jeremy Leibler, President of the ZFA said, “Together with Masa Israel, our number one priority during this pandemic was to provide young adults an immersive Israel experience without compromising on their health and wellbeing. We are thrilled that after this recent lockdown in Israel and with Israel’s current border closure to foreign nationals, that Masa was able to resecure entry into Israel for Masa fellows. This ‘permission to fly’ demonstrates the value the Israeli Government and the wider Jewish global community places on Israel experience programs.”
He continued, “We cannot underestimate the significance of our Australian youth flying out to Israel this week on various Masa programs, be it gap year, Jewish learning or career opportunity programs, and receiving their Pfizer vaccination upon arrival – and all just in time for Yom Ha’atzmaut.”
Excited at the prospect of finally delivering good news to Masa participants after over a year of disappointing phone calls and emails, ZFA Israel Programs director Sarit Braver said, “Our office has been buzzing the whole week, with Masa fellows able to fly to Israel again to start their gap, study, volunteer and exclusive career development programs. It was great to see this first group depart, so what was thought to be unfathomable a few months ago, will now be happening.”
Bnei Akiva Limmud participant Amir Meyerowitz from Melbourne said “It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Limmud to start, It seems so surreal. There is so much to look forward to; meeting kids from around the world and spending quality time in Israel.”
Masa Israel Journey is the global leader in immersive experiences for young diaspora Jews, ranging from 4-12 months and include study, volunteer, and exclusive career development programs.
Masa is a collaboration between the Jewish Agency, Keren HaYesod and the Israeli Government.
The Zionist Federation of Australia is the local representative for Masa Israel Journey
For more information about Masa programs and the opportunity to head to Israel in 2021 , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9272 5584.