Applicants must be between 18 – 26 years old at the time of the trip, and must have already graduated from high school. However, anyone who is 26 as of May 1st is eligible for trips in the forthcoming summer season (i.e. May, June, July or August), even if they have turned 27 by the time of the actual trip. Similarly, for winter trips (i.e. November, December, January, February, March departures), anyone who is still 26 as of December 1st is still eligible for winter season of trips even if they have turned 27 by the time of the actual trip.
Some very limited exceptions to this rule may be considered for people who recently aged out of the eligibility limits, depending on the circumstances. Contact us for additional details.
Applicants must have at least one Jewish birth parent, or have converted to Judaism. But don’t worry – having a Jewish background does not mean you need to be religious to qualify or to fit in on our trips. In fact, many of the participants on Israel Outdoors have more of a cultural connection to Judaism than a traditional one.
Prior Israel Experience
Rules pertaining to prior Israel experience have recently changed. More people than ever are now eligible for a Birthright Israel experience.
- Applicants who traveled to Israel prior to turning 18 on a peer program designed for high school teens shorter than three months in length are eligible. Even if you were 18 at the time of the trip, you are eligible, as long as the trip was designed for high school students.
- Applicants who traveled to Israel since turning 18 on a family trip, a multi-generational trip, or some interfaith/secular experiences are eligible.
- Applicants who traveled to Israel after turning 18 on a peer program designed for college students or young adults are not eligible. Such programs include any study abroad, gap year, yeshiva/seminary, and any other experience under the umbrella of Masa Israel.
- Applicants who participated in most high school in Israel programs for up to four months are eligible. Check with Israel Outdoors to find out about your program.
- Must have graduated high school by the time of the trip
- Have not lived in Israel for over three months since the age of 12
- Have not served in the Israeli Army
- Not currently registered in a Jewish Studies program in any institute of higher learning such as Jewish Teacher Training program, Jewish Studies program, Rabbinic program, Yeshiva/Seminary, Jewish Communal Service program, etc.
- Must have a current US address — which includes being a resident, citizen or full time student in the US. However, applicants living in Canada are eligible to take part in any Specialty Trip or any Israel By Bike trip departing from the United States.
Many prospective travelers wonder if they are “Jewish enough” to be eligible for this trip. If you are curious or have any questions at all, we encourage you to contact us by email or by phone (202-537-0006) in advance to talk it out. We’d be glad to clarify your status and help get your application underway.
HONORING THE ELIGIBILITY RULES
Israel Outdoors has a responsibility to take the Birthright Israel eligibility rules very seriously, and we expect you to do the same. In large part, we rely on your honesty and personal integrity to ensure that you are, in fact, eligible for the gift. Please understand that lying or otherwise misrepresenting your background to get on this trip is no different morally or legally than stealing approximately $3,000, and it will be treated accordingly.