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FIDF Supporters and 50 IDF Officers to Visit Auschwitz-Birkenau

FIDF delegation and IDF soldiers will visit Poland, then celebrate Israel’s Independence Day in the Jewish State, April 28-May 9, 2014

New York, Prominent leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from the United States and Panama will join 50 IDF officers as they experience a remarkable 10-day “From Holocaust to Independence” journey spanning Jewish history from Poland to Israel this spring.

The trip, from April 28-May 9, will celebrate FIDF’s support for the courageous soldiers of the IDF and for the State of Israel.

“This time of the year, when we commemorate Israel’s Memorial Day and celebrate its independence, we must remember that without the young men and women of the IDF who protect the Jewish nation with their lives, there would be no State of Israel for Jews all over the world to call home,” said FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.

“FIDF is proud to serve as the bridge connecting the communities in the U.S. and Panama to Israel through the support of the soldiers. The FIDF ‘From Holocaust to Independence’ Delegation sends a clear message to the world, that we know the past, we appreciate the present, and we will stand with the State of Israel and its brave soldiers now and forever. The heritage of the Jewish people and its inevitable continuity are at the center of this extraordinary journey from Poland to Israel,” Gershon said.

The FIDF delegation will join a group of 50 IDF soldiers from various combat units, Air Force pilots, and Navy officers, which will be headed by an IDF Brigadier General. The delegation will also be joined by an Auschwitz survivor, an IDF bereaved mother, the IDF Musical Ensemble, and the IDF Chief Cantor.

Participants will scale the depths and peaks of Jewish history. The group will visit the Jewish Quarter in Krakow and the former ghetto in Kazmierz, see the ruins of the Jewish community in the city of Tarnow, and head to the Zbylitowska Gora forest, where countless Jews were murdered. They will also visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, where they will march together in official IDF ceremonies. Finally, they will fly to Israel aboard an Israel Air Force plane, to be greeted by IDF soldiers.

In Israel, FIDF participants will enjoy Shabbat in Jerusalem, get a VIP tour of IDF units and an Israeli Air Force base and observe a live-fire military exercise. During a special ceremony on Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, they will honor the brave IDF soldiers who have fallen in defense of the Jewish homeland. Participants will also mark Israel’s Independence Day with a state ceremony at Mount Herzl. During the trip in Israel, FIDF delegation members are expected to meet with major leaders, including President Shimon Peres; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Minister of Defense Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon; IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz; and Head of the IDF Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aviv Kokhavi.

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