With an outpouring of support and a commitment to clal Yisrael (the Jewish people), 6,000 Jewish young adults from 20 different countries visited Israel this winter, setting aside their fears about the current Palestinian uprising, or Intifada. The young people participated in Birthright Israel, a program that provides free trips to Israel to 18- to 26-year-olds who have never visited there before. The program seeks to strengthen the bonds between Israelis and Diaspora Jews.
Molly Richman of the University of Pennsylvania told The Jerusalem Post that she was "kind of scared" to go, but was glad that she faced down her fears. She was moved by "how special a place it is." Jed Anderson summed up the feelings of many of his fellow students: "I wanted to come because it's our homeland...I feel a connection. I feel it's where we belong."