Ashkenazi Raises Whopping $20 Million at IDF Fundraiser in NY


ashkenazi1There was scarce evidence of the global recession at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for the IDF in New York City on Tuesday night. Even as protestors outside the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel decried the guest of honor – Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi – donors pledged six-figure sums, topping $20 million by the end of the night. Inside a glittering ballroom, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces staged a show that tugged on the purse strings of the nearly 1,400 in attendance.

On the heels of a trip to Washington, where he met with top US officials, Ashkenazi emphasized the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and called on the international community to stop the Islamic regime.

“All options should remain on the table,” he said.

Inside, Ashkenazi played up the humanity and moral compass of Israeli soldiers. He highlighted IDF success stories of the past year: its interception of the Francop, a ship carrying 650 tons of weapons and explosives, as well as Israel’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.

“But our soldiers do much more,” he said. “They demonstrate respect for human dignity and value human life, regardless of the enemy’s cruelty.”

Despite the relative calm of the past year, stemming from “deterrence” attained during Cast Lead and the second Lebanon war, he said, Israel faces complex threats.

“As commander of our soldiers, I tell you upon this stage: We will [overcome] those who seek our destruction,” he said. “We will win thanks to our soldiers’ courage and because of their moral compass.”

As dinner plates were cleared, speeches gave way to a main event: spirited, public pledges, earmarked for education, recreational facilities and other projects.

The first donor to step up offered $200,000. A cascade of dizzying sums followed: $500,000 from Iranian Jews in New York, $270,000 from a donor in honor of his 15 children and grandchildren, $1m. for education and $3.5m. from a fellowship of Evangelical Christians.

The crowd whooped when designer Elie Tahari donated $100,000, and people jumped to their feet to fete a US marine who made the relatively small donation of $1,000.

“I realize how important it is to defend a country and take care of your own,” the marine, Todd Bowers, said, donating his savings in memory of Liron Banai.

{Yair Israel/JPost}


  1. Boruch Hashem for their successes.
    We all benefit from the messengers of hakadosh baruch who when we visit Israel, daven at mekomos hakedoshim and with security at the airport. This money provided two security guards to accompany the bochur back from Japan, kol hakavod.

  2. It’s a good way to give tzedaka, but the IDF must deal reasonably with the issue of soldiers whose decent morals do not allow them to expel Jews from their homes.