New York, A select delegation from the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New York Young Leadership Division attended the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner at New York’s landmark Waldorf Astoria tonight, where head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevi said, in the gala’s keynote address, that Israel must be “prepared” on its northern border with Syria.
“Syria has long ceased to be the state we all knew four years ago. We call it ‘50 Shades of Black,’ though I must admit I haven’t read the ‘grey’ version. One needs to take only a glimpse at their inner executions to understand why we must be prepared in the northern border.”
The head of IDF intelligence also said that the so-called Arab Spring has turned into a wider religious war redrawing the Middle East. “The maps of our area have been changing in front of our eyes. Borders drawn more than a century ago are being recklessly erased. The upheaval in the Middle East has turned into a religious struggle among armed factions,” said Halevi.
Among the delegation members were FIDF National Young Leadership Director Dan Haskell; FIDF New York Young Leadership Chairman Jane Oster; FIDF New York Young Leadership President Lemor Bar-Or; and FIDF New York Young Leadership Vice President Stefanie Cohen.
More than 1,200 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered for the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner, demonstrating their love and support for FIDF and for the men and women who serve to protect the State of Israel.
FIDF National Board Member Rabbi Peter Weintraub served as Dinner Chairman. Weintraub, who specializes in rabbinic outreach, has been an avid FIDF supporter for 12 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for over 70 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.
“Over the dozen years that I’ve been involved in FIDF, I’ve been privileged to see how this organization makes a powerful difference in the lives of the brave men and women who defend and protect Israel – and the Jewish People,” said Rabbi Weintraub. “This Gala provided a wonderful, stirring opportunity for us to say thanks, and to stand proudly with them.”
Special guests included 30 IDF soldiers of various ranks and military units, including 2nd Lt. Enbal Grintzvaig, an educational officer in the Artillery Corps, whose brother, 1st Sgt. Avi Grintzvaig, z”l, was shot and killed in Bet Hanoun, near Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. Addressing the audience, 2nd Lt. Enbal shared her personal memories of her brother, who posthumously received a citation for his bravery. Most of the soldiers who attended the Gala received citations for heroism, including in Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, greeted the audience via satellite, and thanked them for their invaluable support for Israel’s soldiers.
Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to former combat soldiers, financial support for underprivileged soldiers and Lone Soldiers from around the world, crucial aid for wounded veterans, weeks of rest and recreation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening was a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the State of Israel and the brave men and women in uniform. In 2014, for the first time in its history, FIDF raised over $100 million for the wellbeing of Israeli soldiers.
Distinguished guests included the author and nationally syndicated radio host, Dr. Monica Crowley, who served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies; IDF’s 19th Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the U.S. and Canada Maj. Gen. Yaacob Ayish; and Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni.
Other prominent guests included FIDF National Chairman Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Rabbi Weintraub and his wife, Ellen; FIDF Chairmen Emeritus Arthur Stark, Larry Hochberg, and Marvin Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO Emeritus Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; and FIDF National Board Member and YL-NY President Emeritus Tony Felzen.
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