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Now there’s a ‘Birthright’ for those over 26 and intermarried — ‘Honeymoon Israel’

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Famously, Birthright Israel is a program designed to foster support for Israel in the U.S. (and other countries) by sending Jewish kids there for free for 10 days during which they meet Israeli soldiers and hook up with other Birthrighters. Birthright is limited to 18-26-year-old’s who have “one Jewish birth parent,” whatever that means, and who haven’t been to Israel on their own before. Sheldon Adelson and Norman Braman (big Republican donors) support Birthright.

But sadly Birthright won’t pay for your honeymoon if you meet your spouse on the trip.

Well I just learned about Honeymoon Israel: “Israel with the one you love.” You can go on this luxury trip if you’re 25-40, and if you’re intermarried.

At least one person in each couple must be Jewish. Jewish individuals are those who identify as Jewish and are recognized as Jewish by their local community. Jewish individuals must have at least one Jewish parent or must have completed Jewish conversion.

Here are the scheduled trips, more than 20 planned. The Washington DC promotion is here. There are hurdles to go over to show you’re Jewish, but they have a loose definition of honeymoon: “Couples must either be married or in a life-long committed relationship.” It’s not completely free either. The trip costs about $10,000 per couple of which the couple has to spend $1800. “The remainder is a gift from the Jewish community.”

Oh and there’s no agenda, the FAQ says implausibly. It’s obviously Zionist; but judging from the video below, it’s more about keeping these couples’ kids as Jews by using the lodestone of Jewish identity these days, Israel. “We represent a new Jewish community. A lot of Jewish couples are mixed couples these days,” says a woman on that video. “And it’s a great way to bring Jewish culture and the state of Israel to people who want to explore and want to learn.” 

Seems a little desperate to me, but there’s probably some big money behind it, and studies showing that up to age 40 a Jew can still be molded into a Zionist…

Thanks to Scott Roth.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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22 Responses

  1. a blah chick on May 27, 2015, 4:25 pm

    “It’s not completely free either. The trip costs about $10,000 per couple of which the couple has to spend $1800. “The remainder is a gift from the Jewish community.”

    I wonder how many elderly and impoverished Jews could be helped by that money.

    • Krauss on May 28, 2015, 12:15 am

      There are a lot of impoverished Shoah survivors in the NYC area. But they can’t produce Zionist kids so they don’t get the attention.

      • Froggy on May 28, 2015, 9:53 am

        So where did all the money go?

    • RobertHenryEller on May 28, 2015, 9:23 am

      Not an idle question. Actually large numbers of Holocaust survivors are left destitute in Israel, like disposable political props. Which is really all Zionists think these people are good for.

      But no help for those people, eh, Shelly and Norm? Gotta save your shekels for your budding hitler jugend saviors. Is das nicht richtig?

      • CigarGod on May 28, 2015, 9:30 am

        Good point.
        Is there a heroic name for all those escaping present day europe? I bet scritwriters are working furiously on new films.

      • a blah chick on May 28, 2015, 11:25 am

        In fact I think a few years back Israel cut the survivors’ pensions. I could be wrong but aren’t these monies paid to the government and not to the survivors directly?

  2. Liz18 on May 27, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Perhaps it is also evident of the desperation among the Birthright folks, that they feel the need to find more ways to increase their propaganda. Maybe it’s a sign that the Birthright program for younger folks isn’t producing the results they wanted.

  3. italian ex-pat on May 27, 2015, 5:22 pm

    Oh, shoot! My DH and I do meet the requirement regarding the intermarriage thing, unfortunately we are both well over 40 ……… and the honeymoon has also been over for quite some time.
    On the plus side, I wouldn’t go on this kind of trip even if it were 100% free.

  4. Stephen Shenfield on May 27, 2015, 6:59 pm

    I wonder whether the non-Jewish partner can be Palestinian?

    • pabelmont on May 27, 2015, 9:02 pm

      SS: Palestinian (or other Arab)? Lovely question. Thanks.

      I am intrigued by the allowing (not requiring) intermarriage. Sounds a bit like trying to get the children to be raised “Jewish” (that is to say, in context, RWZionist).

      • Froggy on May 28, 2015, 2:41 pm

        I once attended a Bar Mitzvah in NYC where in her sermon the rabbi stressed the boy’s responsibility as a Jewish man, to Judaism and to the Jewish community, before starting in on the boy’s responsibility to Israel, to the support of Israel, to the defence of Israel, stressing the dangers and evil of Israel’s neighbours. She told this American kid that supporting Israel was part of his Jewish identity and his responsibility as a Jew. She even urged him to make Aliya.

        The kid had a Jewish mother. The boy’s father was the son of a devout family of Lebanese and Syrian Catholics, first generation immigrants with strong ties to their culture.

        The A-rabs, as the kid affectionately called them, had trooped down from Rhode Island to be in that synagogue when their much-loved boy became a Jewish man. Through the ceremony they had been listening intently to the service, smiling, occasionally nodding to each other. All that changed during the sermon, as they sat there, stony-faced, listening to that rabbi as she droned on. I can’t imagine what they must have been thinking.

        I know what I was thinking.

  5. JLewisDickerson on May 27, 2015, 9:45 pm

    RE: “Now there’s a ‘Birthright’ for those over 26 and intermarried — ‘Honeymoon Israel’”

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    I laughed at all his words
    I thought he was a bitter man
    He spoke of women’s ways

    They’ll trap you, then they use you
    Before you even know
    For love is blind and you’re far too kind
    Don’t ever let it show

    I wish that I knew what I know now
    When I was younger
    I wish that I knew what I know now
    When I was stronger

    The Can Can’s such a pretty show
    They’ll steal your heart away
    But backstage, back on earth again
    The dressing rooms are grey

    They come on strong and it ain’t too long
    Before they make you feel a man
    But love is blind and you soon will find
    You’re just a boy again . . . – Rod Stewart

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  6. Marnie on May 28, 2015, 8:02 am

    I’m sorry this is not on topic but wanted to share this important notice from Avaaz regarding FIFA scandal –

    “Swiss police just arrested 7 FIFA executives, giving hope to billions of people around the world who love football and hate corruption. But unless we move fast Sepp Blatter will get away with it, and begin his fifth term as FIFA president!

    Under Blatter, FIFA scandals extend from bribery, ripping off FIFA host countries, and burying the ethics investigation he commissioned into vote rigging to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar! But this isn’t just about football — his FIFA has fostered corruption, abuse of workers’ rights, and the flattening of communities to erect stadiums in host countries.

    Yesterday’s dawn raids is the best moment we’ve ever had to kick out Blatter and reclaim our game. But it won’t happen without a massive outcry. Let’s create the world’s fastest-growing petition today, hit a million and then call on FIFA execs to kick him out when they vote in 24 hours. Sign and share this widely”

    • CigarGod on May 28, 2015, 9:19 am

      No, we have to deal with the first item on our list…and that is kicking Israel out of FIFA…for shooting Palestinian athletes in the legs…and other crimes.
      btw…this FIFA corruption thing showing up now…just a coincidence.

      • pabelmont on May 28, 2015, 9:28 am

        With FIFA under USA’s attack, does FIFA respond by attacking USA (and thus Israel) or by cozying up (a quasi plea bargain or immunity deal)?

      • CigarGod on May 28, 2015, 9:34 am

        Have those FIFA guys we kidnaped (legally) been able to post bail yet?
        But, I’m guessing the new FIFA leadership will quietly take the Palestinian petition off the table.

    • ckg on May 28, 2015, 10:42 am

      Palestinian soccer player Iyad Abu Gharqoud has an interesting NYT op-ed today. About Blatter he writes:

      The Palestine national team has belonged to FIFA since 1998, but we do not trust the current president, Sepp Blatter, to represent our interests. Past assurances to act have not been honored. He has, in effect, been complicit in Israel’s abuse of Palestinian players: Even last week, he was trying to undermine our call for Israel’s suspension by his shuttle diplomacy with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
      He and Mr. Netanyahu are mistaken if they think they can use an international “match of peace” to head off the Friday vote at FIFA’s Zurich congress — even as Israel delayed our players from leaving the West Bank to train in Tunisia. We will choose freedom and equal rights over a public-relations spectacle bringing no substantive change.

      • CigarGod on May 28, 2015, 11:01 am

        Just for fun:
        In the 70’s, Sepp Blatter headed The World Society of Suspenders. An organization devoted to combatting…get this…pantihose. Pantihose, as opposed to nylon stockings…does not need a waist belt/suspender to hold itself up.

  7. eusebio on May 28, 2015, 8:52 am

    More values of freedom solidarity and equality between various future generations

  8. JustJessetr on May 28, 2015, 9:24 am

    “Honeymoon Israel”! What a great idea! I’m all for it!

    • Mooser on May 29, 2015, 10:30 am

      “Honeymoon Israel”! What a great idea! I’m all for it!”

      There is something very, very pathetic about you having to announce this at Mondo.

  9. Marshall on May 28, 2015, 10:15 am

    This makes total sense. I was born Jewish, but personally I just adopt the religion of whomever I sleep with, so it’s a good thing Birthright was there to make sure that person was Jewish. Hopefully they’ll provide more Jewish hookups on the honeymoon they’re paying for.

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