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"Friends" Raise $18 Million

By Henry Levy

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces give real meaning to the word “Friends”. There were over 1200 of them on hand recently at the Annual Gala Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. In just several hours $18 million was raised to show enthusiastic support for Israeli soldiers.

The money raised was not the only reason that this was a special evening. The Friends of the IDF are dedicated, motivated, captivated and genuinely elated to do their part for the brave soldiers of Israel. Some have been soldiers, others have family and friends that have served, and there were those Jews and non Jews alike who have great respect for the tasks these young Israelis are called on to perform in order to safeguard their country. For all, the security of Israel and a homeland for Jews everywhere, goes to the core of their being.
  
Dinner Chairman Benny Shabtai and MSNBC anchor Monica Crowly guided everyone through this emotional evening. Soldiers fighting on the front lines told their stories. Once again, via live satellite broadcast, IDF soldiers in Israel described their duties and responsibilities. Amazingly enough, one of their officers was in the audience celebrating with us. Chief of Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi gave a special briefing of the latest developments in Israel. Then Galit Ram, wife of hero Elad Ram who was killed in action during this past summer’s Lebanon war, mesmerized us with the story of her husband’s life and his own words as revealed in his blood soaked diary given to her.
  
Haim Saban, creator of the Power Rangers, was one of many donors who created excitement with a pledge of $1 million and challenged anyone to match him. When that was done he doubled his donation and then tripled it to $3 million as a third million dollar friend emerged. Even though many people gave tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, it was an Israeli soldier’s pledge of one month’s salary that touched every man, woman and child present.
  
To learn more about this amazing group of “Friends” visit their website at www.israelsoldiers.org or you may contact them at 212-244-3118 to make a pledge or volunteer your services.


Photos courtesy of FIDF

Israel's Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz with Mrs. Galit Ram, Wife of fallen soldier Elad Ram
Israel's Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz with Mrs. Galit Ram, Wife of fallen soldier Elad Ram
FIDF former Chairman Mr. Larry Hochberg, FIDF Treasurer Ms. Netta Korin and FIDF Chairman Mr. Arthur Stark
FIDF former Chairman Mr. Larry Hochberg, FIDF Treasurer Ms. Netta Korin and FIDF Chairman Mr. Arthur Stark
FIDF National Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yehiel Gozal , Major Avinoam Stolovitch, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of transportation and Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz and Dinner Chairman Mr. Benny Shabtai
FIDF National Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yehiel Gozal , Major Avinoam Stolovitch, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of transportation and Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz and Dinner Chairman Mr. Benny Shabtai
Guests in the Waldorf Astoria Ball Room at the FIDF event
Guests in the Waldorf Astoria Ball Room at the FIDF event
FIDF National Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yehiel Gozal , Major Avinoam Stolovitch, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of transportation and Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz and Dinner Chairman Mr. Benny Shabtai.
FIDF National Director Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yehiel Gozal , Major Avinoam Stolovitch, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of transportation and Road Safety Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz and Dinner Chairman Mr. Benny Shabtai.