VIDEO - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Monday on hundreds of Jewish youngsters visiting the country within the framework of the Jewish Agency’s MASA - Israel Journey project to make aliyah.
During the project’s closing ceremony, which was held at the Latrun Amphitheater, the prime minister was received with a round of applause, apart from a few chants of “traitor” and “a Jew does not expel another Jew.”
Video: Yaron Brenner
Former Jewish Agency head Sallai Meridor and ministers Gideon Ezra and Zeev Boim were among those on hand for the event.
Olmert’s associates mentioned that last year former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was greeted more harshly.
The prime minister was unfazed by the taunts, and resumed his speech once the hecklers were silenced. He praised Sharon for initiating the MASA project and called on the young Jewish people to come live in Israel.
“Go back, stay a while, then pack up and come home,” Olmert pleaded.
“There is nothing we need more than to have you in the State of Israel.”
Some 7,000 Jews aged 18-30 made aliyah within the framework of MASA. Lior Shilat, a former Sharon aide who is currently involved in running the project, told Ynet that 40 percent of all those who participate in the project eventually immigrate to Israel.