The Israel Travel Alliance (ITA) is pleased to announce Tal Gozani as its first Executive Director. The ITA is a multifaith coalition of immersive Israel education travel programs housed at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).
“We see time and time again how important Israel travel is to the mission of strengthening the bonds between the global Jewish people and Israel, as well as inspiring allies and supporters in other faith communities,” said Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of the Jewish Federations. “We’re so excited that someone of Tal’s vast experience and talents will be leading the efforts to build and grow the field of Israel travel.”
Initially convened in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Alliance has regularly mobilized over 80 immersive Israel experience programs and key funders to address issues such as travel restrictions and build out future innovations in the field of educational Israel travel experiences.
The announcement comes as Israel’s borders remain closed to non-citizens from the US and UK due to concerns about the Omicron variant, and follows a letter to Federation leadership from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressing a commitment to reopen the borders as quickly as possible.
“Border closures only represent the most immediate and pressing need for Israel travel operators,” said Gozani. “Since COVID hit, we’ve seen a greater need for building the field of Israel travel and the benefits of mobilizing this alliance to ensure that we keep strengthening our bonds with Israel.”
In addition to addressing immediate issues, the ITA is strategically focused on improving the field of Israel travel through collective training opportunities, creating financial efficiencies for Israel travel programs, and sharing best practices for developing contemporary and compelling educational experiences in Israel.
“This is a critical moment for outstanding professional leadership as we navigate educational programs returning to Israel and look to strengthen the Israel travel field,” said Serene Hudson, the Director of Education and Israel Operations at Passages, a group that brings Christain college students to Israel and is a member of the ITA Steering Committee.
Combined, the groups in the alliance were bringing over 80,000 people to Israel each year before the pandemic, representing hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the Israeli economy a year.
“The pandemic has had far reaching and painful ramifications for Israel travel. If there is a silver lining in this space, it is the creation of the Israel Travel Alliance. It has been a space of sharing and support, and we are eager to build the field for the future,” said Ben Pery the CEO of Momentum and ITA Steering Committee member.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please reach out to Niv Elis at firstname.lastname@example.org.