A record $60 million was donated to Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers at a large gala in Beverly Hills, Calif., over the weekend.
The annual Friends of the IDF Western region gala in Los Angeles was hosted by Israeli-American philanthropist Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl. It represents the 12th time that the Sabans have chaired the gala.
Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson donated $10 million, which Saban matched.
“I love the soldiers and the Israelis and the FIDF. My granddaughter is set to enlist soon; and she will be a lone soldier, and I’m very proud of her,” said Dr. Miriam Adelson.
“Sheldon and I will be donating more than ever before,” she added. “We will give $10 million—half of that sum will be on behalf of the organization’s Las Vegas branch, for the gala there next Sunday. We need to strengthen them. We are all brothers and sisters.”
The event began with a moment of silence honoring the 11 Jewish victims of the Oct. 27 shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, who has contributed more than $45 million to FIDF in the last few years, donated $5 million at the gala.
“We are so deeply grateful to FIDF for the commendable support they provide the real heroes of Israel, the men and women on the front lines, and the Fellowship is proud to be their partner in this vital mission,” he said.
Among notable figures at the gala were actors Andy Garcia, Gerard Butler, Ashton Kutcher and Fran Drescher.
Singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams performed his hit song “Happy” and addressed the tragedy in Pittsburgh by calling for an end to hatred. JNS.ORG