Taglit-Birthright, the premier program in Jewish-American Zionism for young adults, has sent 340,000, 18- to 25-year-old Jews to Israel on all-expenses paid, 10-day vacations since its inception in 1999. On their journey, participants consume all the riches of Jewish Israeli culture – the gorgeous landscape, spiritual holy places, chiseled soldiers – a perfectly painted blindfold that sits comfortably on their eager eyes, shielding them from the violent truths of their supposed “homeland.” The Zionist indoctrination I experienced on the trip was far more insidious and violent than I had expected.
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