The Jewish Agency said it was working to get the gov’t to match donations made to program organizers.

The Masa program has cut all funding to yeshiva and seminary students under the age of 22, citing budget cuts made by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency, which funds it. Most of the students are from the US, Canada and the UK.

The announcement affects programs beginning in the 2020/2021 academic year, which for yeshivas and seminaries starts on August 21. The institutions were informed of the policy change on Tuesday.

Grants and scholarships for Masa participants in university programs will still be available.

The length of programs subsidized for participants from the former Soviet Union and academic programs will also be affected, Masa said.

“With the significant economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jewish Agency and the government of Israel reduced Masa’s budget,” Masa acting CEO Ofer Gutman said.

Demand for Masa programs actually was increasing due to tighter job markets and because universities abroad have remained closed, he said, adding that it is unclear if and how they will reopen for the new academic year.

“With over 7,000 preregistrations, together with our funders, we had to make difficult choices that advanced our strategic priorities while maximizing our funds,” Gutman said. “Adjustments were made in multiple areas to ensure that we can provide as many people as possible meaningful, long-term experiences in Israel.”

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