$27 Million Raised at NY Gala Dinner for the Israel Defense Forces


idf-dinner$27 million was raised Tuesday night at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner, where over 1,400 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to demonstrate their support for the soldiers of Israel.

FIDF Chairman Emeritus Arthur Stark was the chair of the Gala, and author and nationally syndicated radio host Dr. Monica Crowley served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

Among the guests in attendance were FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic; FIDF National President, Julian Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; Former IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Founder and President of The Fellowship, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; Israeli-American luxury fashion designer, Elie Tahari; President of the New York Yankees Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy; American real estate tycoon and media proprietorMort Zuckerman; and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

One of the evening’s outstanding guests included Cpt. Ziv Shilon, a 25-year-old commander of the Givati Brigade, who just a couple of months ago was badly injured in a Hamas attack near the Gaza security fence when an explosive device went off. Cpt. Shilon was also joined at the Gala by more than 30 soldiers and officers from various IDF units as well as soldiers from the United States Armed Forces, including Maj. Justin Constantine, a wounded U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

Notable among the $27 million in donations was $1 million pledged by the Genesis Philanthropy Group; $130,000 pledged by Elie Tahari; $100,000 pledged by American real estate tycoon and media proprietor Mort Zuckerman; $1.08 million pledged by FIDF National Board Member Harry Gross; $1.3 million pledged by National Board Member and Young Leadership Chairman Tony Felzen on behalf of FIDF NY Young Leadership; and dinner sponsorships purchased by the Major League Baseball and the Yankee Foundation.

The evening culminated with the heartfelt words shared by bereaved mother, Nelly Barak, who tragically lost her son, Hanan Barak Z”L, a tank commander, in 2006. Hanan and another soldier were killed when a group of terrorists fired an RPG at his tank and then abducted his soldier, Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier released last October after five years of captivity by Hamas in Gaza.

The funds raised during the evening will provide much needed services such as academic scholarships to former combat soldiers, financial support for soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers from around the world, weeks of rest and recreation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}