Masa Israel Journey

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Masa Israel Journey (or Masa Israel, Hebrew: מסע‎‎ "journey") is a public-service organization founded by the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Israel, together with The Jewish Agency for Israel. Masa Israel is the leading organization in the long term Israel experience space, and it sets the industry standard.

Since its founding in 2004, over 110,000 young Jews (18-30) from more than 60 countries have participated in Masa Israel programs[1][2] The organization's eventual goal is to bring 20,000 young adults annually on semester- and year-long programs in Israel.[3]

Masa leads this informal educational effort with a diverse portfolio of 2-12-month study, service, and career development programs for young Jews (18-30).

Masa Israel offers unique educational experiences beyond the scope of the participant’s main program, with a particular emphasis on excellence and leadership programming for qualifying participants. Masa’s transformational, authentic Israel experiences, among the best in the international experience space, empower participants to develop as individuals, while also developing a robust global professional network that includes Israelis and Jews from around the world.

Masa Israel Journey offers every eligible participant a grant of $500- $4,500 towards participating in a program in Israel.[4]


Conceived by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Masa Israel was officially established in 2004 as a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Masa Israel is governed by a 16-member steering committee, with eight representatives of the Government of Israel and eight representatives of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The steering committee is co-chaired by the Government of Israel Cabinet Secretary and the Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel.[5]

During the 2004-2005 school year, $10 million was invested in the program,[6] with 45 long term Israel programs participating.[7] As of late 2009, the budget expanded to $40 million[8] and the number of programs affiliated with the project has grown to over 200. The bulk of the budget goes to providing grants and financial aid to participants of affiliated programs. In 2015–16, participation reached an all-time high of over 13,000 participants.

Masa Israel is not officially connected to Taglit-Birthright Israel, though the organizations do collaborate regarding recruitment and education.

In 2009, Masa Israel and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life began working together expand reach on North American university campuses.[9]

In January 2016 a new Israeli regulation was implemented allowing Masa Israel participants to receive 6-month Work Visas immediately upon completion of their programs. Minister of Interior, Aryeh Deri, and MK Nahman Shai, and Amos Arbel, led the effort to get this regulation passed.

Program Organizers[edit]

Independent organizations apply to be recognized by Masa Israel. Programs must include an educational curriculum, Hebrew instruction, and trips around Israel.[10] Organizers include academic institutions like the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, IDC Herzliya and Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Other large organizers include educational tourism companies like The Israel Experience Ltd., Destination Israel, Sachlav, and Masa Tlalim.

In addition, Masa Israel oversees a number of Gap Year programs including Jewish youth movements such as Young Judaea, Habonim Dror, Bnei Akiva, and Seminary/Yeshiva programs.


Half of Masa Israel's funding comes from the Government of Israel and the other half comes from the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is supported by the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA.[11] Participants on Masa Israel programs who identify as Jewish can receive grants and scholarships toward the cost of their program, with the amount depending on their age, the length of their program and their country of origin.


  1. ^ "About Us | Masa Israel". Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  2. ^ MASA Program Reaches 9,300 Participants
  3. ^ Israel Hoping Long-Term Stays by Diaspora Youth Will Pay Dividends
  4. ^ "About Us | Masa Israel". Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  5. ^ MASA Governance
  6. ^ Israel invests in long-term stays
  7. ^ Program approaches critical MASA
  8. ^ Masa urges Israelis: Get your Diaspora relatives to come here
  9. ^ Hillel, MASA Team to Promote Israel Opportunities
  10. ^ The organizations bylaws state that programs must include elements of "Acquisition of knowledge in Judaism, acquisition of knowledge in Zionist history and the State of Israel, learning about the land of Israel, Hebrew instruction, exposure to Israeli culture and art, and volunteering in Israeli society."
  11. ^ MASA gets multi-year commitment from Israeli PM