A former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brought thousands of Christian American students to Israel over the last four years for propaganda junkets, reported JTA.
“Passages”, a nine-day trip whose itinerary includes Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem and West Bank settlement Alfei Menashe, began in 2016 and will reach 10,000 participants by the end of this year.
The programme was founded by former Netanyahu adviser Rivka Kidron and former US marine Robert Nicholson.
The initiative is funded by what Kidron described to JTA as a “diverse group” of private donors to the tune of $16.7 million per year (the annual budget for 2020).
According to JTA, Passages is “unabashedly pro-Israel”, calling the country “a force for good in the region and in the world” on its website.
Passages participants “must be recommended and go through a rigorous screening process that aims to identify leadership potential”.
The executive director of “Passages”, Scott Phillips, described the success of the programme as a “long game”.
“Growing the number of students it brings to Israel is one goal, but the final measure of success will be keeping them engaged in the Christian community and in Israel advocacy,” JTA added.