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In an email to JTA, Yigal Palmor, director of communications and public affairs at the Jewish Agency, defended the institution’s commitment to Lapid.“The Jewish Agency has invested time, money and human resources in order to help Lapid develop programs that might draw eventual financial support from the Diaspora Ministry or from philanthropists,” Yigal said.“The last year we realized that we are going nowhere,” Shavit said. The Jewish community doesn’t care about the high school programs.” Robert Lappin, president of the Lappin Foundation, a founding member organization of Lapid that fully subsidizes teen trips to Israel from the North Shore of Massachusetts, also lamented what he called a lack of national support of high school programs in Israel.
According to Gideon Shavit, the founder and one-time co-chairman of Lapid, partnerships with the coalition were rejected by numerous donors, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Diaspora Affairs Ministry.Gideon Shavit, the founder and one-time co-chairman of Lapid, is shown to the right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Adelson School Las Vegas teenagers visited the prime minister in the Knesset. (Courtesy Sarah Vanunu/Kobi Gideon/GPO) Shavit and others argued that “the leaders of the Jewish community and the philanthropic community are going in the wrong direction” by ignoring longer-term engagement of Jews under the age of 18.The Jewish philanthropic world “chose to let the market lead them,” he said in regard to Birthright.Longer Israel trips are a harder sell due to cost and length, Krakow says, but are more necessary and have more impact due to the length of high school programs and how formative teen years are for Jewish identity. Cohen, who has done research for Lapid and Birthright, said both short- and long-term programs have merit.