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Fellowship and FIDF Provide $1.5M in Passover Gift Cards to IDF Soldiers

This year’s ‘Passover Fellowship Gift Cards’ support over 12,500 IDF soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers


JERUSALEM,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with Yachad Lema’an Hachayal, are providing “Fellowship Gift Cards” to over 12,500 soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so they can celebrate the Passover holiday without financial worries.



The vast majority of eligible soldiers will be receiving a gift card in the amount of NIS 500, or about $130, and about 2,500 soldiers are eligible for a gift card of NIS 350, or about $100. Soldiers will be able to purchase supplies such as food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure items.


The Fellowship and FIDF distribute “Fellowship Gift Cards” twice a year, during the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier. FIDF and The Fellowship have been teaming up to deliver the holiday gift cards since 2009.
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5,500 IDF Lone Soldiers Gather for Largest-Ever FIDF 'Fun Day' at Israeli Waterpark

6,400 Lone Soldiers from 80 countries, including 880 Americans, serve in the IDF

SHEFAYIM, Israel, A record 5,500 “Lone Soldiers” – Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers with no immediate family in Israel – gathered Thursday at Israel’s largest waterpark, just outside of Tel Aviv, for a day of rest and recreation. The biggest-ever “Fun Day” was hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) in partnership with the IDF and Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers and The LIBI Fund).

There are some 6,400 Lone Soldiers from 80 countries serving in the IDF today, and about 880 of them are American. FIDF cares for all Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF through the Lone Soldiers Program, which supports them financially, socially, and emotionally during and after their challenging military service. FIDF also sponsors flights for Lone Soldiers to visit their families and friends in their countries of origin.
“The Lone Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who choose to leave their lives behind and come to serve in the IDF with a strong sense of mission and mutual responsibility act in the most noble way,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. “It is an expression of solidarity and Zionism – and represents one of the greatest contributions of world Jewry to the State of Israel, both from those who come to serve, and also from their parents who instilled these values in them.”

Klifi-Amir added, “Military service brings numerous challenges and struggles, and without the support system of those closest to the soldier, it’s almost impossible to succeed. As a parent, I personally experienced many days of fear and worry. I ask myself how American parents must feel when their children serve in one of the most sensitive regions in the world, thousands of miles away from home, when they get information from the media about the situation in Israel. That’s why we are also committed to providing these parents of Lone Soldiers the necessary support.”

The FIDF “Fun Day” at the Shefayim Water Park just north of Tel Aviv benefited Lone Soldiers from all IDF units. In addition to the park’s many attractions, the “Fun Day” featured a pool party with leading Israeli DJ Eran Barnea, gift care packages, an all-day smorgasbord of barbeque and desserts, and special programming by Israeli radio personality Didi Harari and singers Static and Ben El Tavori. The Lone Soldiers also received essential information about life after their military service, including information about the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to Israeli combat veterans of modest means.

In addition to the 5,500 Lone Soldiers, IDF unit commanders, high-ranking officers, 1,000 IDF social welfare non-commissioned officers, and FIDF supporters also attended the festivities to meet and personally thank these brave men and women in uniform for serving despite numerous challenges.




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Young Leaders from Across US Will Visit Israel to Meet IDF Soldiers

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership Mission to Israel July 1-9

NEW YORK,  More than 20 young leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from all walks of life, representing communities from across the U.S., will join the FIDF Young Leadership (YL) Mission to Israel next month to show their appreciation for the brave men and women of the IDF.

The mission, taking place July 1-9, will bring members of FIDF’s Young Leadership Division together with the soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants will receive in-depth briefings by military officers, tour strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experience Israel – from the mystical Safed to the beaches of Tel Aviv – in an entirely new way. The group of FIDF leaders will hear firsthand from the men and women of the co-ed Lions of Jordan battalion, meet the combat soldiers who stand watch over Israel’s border with Gaza, tour an Israeli Air Force Base and get an overview of the different aircraft that protect Israel’s skies, and visit many of Israel’s historic sites.

Joining the FIDF YL Mission will be FIDF Tri-State Development Associate Carly Billig and FIDF Mid-Atlantic Development Associate Rona Kassem.

“This Young Leadership Mission allows our young FIDF supporters to connect with the courageous soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish State and the Jewish people,” said Billig. “We are looking forward to this incredible opportunity to see Israel in a whole new way and to learning how we can do more to support the well-being of Israel’s soldiers.”




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Over 200 NY Real Estate Leaders Gather at FIDF Benefit Supporting Israeli Soldiers

NEW YORK, More than 200 of New York’s most prestigious real estate professionals gathered last night at the Prince George Ballroom for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New York Real Estate Division Annual Gala to salute the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

 The gala honored Jason Schwalbe, vice president of the Hilson Management Corporation, for his commitment to Israel’s soldiers and for his leadership in the New York real estate community. A lifetime friend of both Israel and the Jewish community, Schwalbe is the grandson of FIDF Co-Founder John Klein Z’’L.

“I look upon Israel today, and recognize that its existence is nothing short of a miracle. As the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, I understand that all Jews have a duty to preserve and defend our homeland, so that history never repeats itself,” said Schwalbe. “FIDF works tirelessly to prevent tragedy and preserve miracles.”

The FIDF New York Real Estate Division was created in 2006 by a group of successful business and philanthropic leaders who were passionate about supporting the soldiers of the IDF and securing Israel. Since then, this division has played an extensive role in several development projects, including the construction of a well-being center at the IDF Revaya Base for the 188th Brigade’s 71st Battalion, and support for other well-being and educational programs for Israeli soldiers. The Real Estate Division plays a central role in the activities of the FIDF Tri-State Region.

“The IDF soldiers’ courageous, selfless dedication to the security of Jews in Israel and around the world is inspiring,” said FIDF New York Real Estate Division Chairman Shimon Shkury, who is also founder and president of Ariel Property Advisors. “It is my honor and privilege to support the soldiers of the IDF through Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.”

Attending the gala were IDF soldiers, including Capt. (Res.) Heli, an FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship recipient who served as a reserve officer during Operation Protective Edge in 2014; Capt. “G,” an Israeli Air Force pilot; 1st Lt. Ayelet, who deployed to Nepal with the IDF Home Front Command’s Search and Rescue Unit in April 2015, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, killing more than 8,000 people; and Staff Sgt. Emanuel, who serves in the IDF’s Artillery Corps. Distinguished guests included Schwalbe’s parents, Ruth and Fred Schwalbe; FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta; and FIDF Tri-State Real Estate Division Director Olivia Lichaa.

Funds raised at last night’s event will go toward FIDF educational and well-being programs for Israeli soldiers, including the construction of a recreational facility at the IDF’s “Michve Alon” Education and Youth Corps base near Safed.

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FIDF National Gala in NY Raises Record $33M to Support Israeli Soldiers

NEW YORK, More than 1,300 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country came together on Tuesday for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National New York Gala Dinner at the landmark Waldorf Astoria New York. The gala raised a record-breaking $33.1 million to support educational and well-being programs for the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), featured a keynote address by Israel’s minister of defense and former vice prime minister, Moshe Yaalon, and honored business magnates, philanthropists and steadfast supporters of Israel, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson.

A 37-year veteran of the IDF, Yaalon, known as “Bogie,” began his service in the Paratroopers Brigade and became a commander in Israel’s most elite special operations unit, Sayeret Matkal. Yaalon rose through the ranks, holding high-level command positions including chief of Israel’s military intelligence, head officer in charge of Israel’s Central Command, and chief of the general staff of the IDF.

In the gala’s keynote address, Yaalon said: “Even as Israel has become a global leader in so many fields, we are still embroiled in the battle for our independence. We are surrounded by several nations and entities that have yet to accept the existence of a Jewish homeland – we strive for peace while they strive for war.”

Yaalon also discussed his meeting Monday with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on the U.S. military aid package to Israel, and said the U.S. remains “our ally and strategic cornerstone.”

“We spoke about just how strong the ties are between our two countries and how much we value this special relationship. This unique bond between FIDF and its American supporters, the Israel Defense Forces, and the people of Israel is exemplified here tonight. Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America,” he said.

Yaalon also thanked the FIDF gala participants: “On behalf of the State of Israel, I want to thank you, our supporters, from the bottom of my heart for your endless commitment to the well-being of our soldiers.”

The 2016 FIDF National New York Gala Dinner honored Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson with the inaugural FIDF “Defenders of Israel” award for their lifelong philanthropy and support for a variety of causes in the U.S. and Israel. Israeli-born Dr. Miriam Adelson is an accomplished medical doctor and a former IDF soldier who served with distinction. Mr. Adelson is an entrepreneur and integrated-resorts developer who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest business leaders of his generation and currently employs more than 50,000 people worldwide. They are partners in varied and global business and philanthropic activities.

“My wife, Miriam, and I are truly honored to accept this award from FIDF,” said Sheldon G. Adelson. “Advocating for Israel and caring for the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces are the causes closest to our hearts. Today, more than ever, we must support our family – the people of Israel. That is why we are proud to stand here tonight in solidarity with these courageous defenders of the Jewish homeland.”

The Adelsons have joined a unique pantheon of the foremost names in Jewish philanthropy in modern Jewish history. They are the single largest funders of Birthright and Yad Vashem and have consecrated their success to the noble aim of always fighting for and protecting Israel and the Jewish people.

“This evening paid tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who protect the State of Israel and Jews worldwide. We were honored to have Israel’s minister of defense, Moshe ‘Bogie’ Yaalon, as well as Jewish philanthropic leaders Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, joining our community to welcome these soldiers,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. “Tonight was about showing them that we are all thankful for their sacrifices and that, while their job is to look after Israel, ours is to look after them.”

FIDF’s flagship national event was chaired by FIDF National President Rabbi Peter Weintraub. A Reform rabbi and businessman, he has been an avid FIDF supporter for 15 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for more than 70 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

Special guests included 30 IDF soldiers from various military units, including Sergeants Sydney and Solomon and Staff Sgt. Ariel, who are all originally from N.Y. and enlisted in the IDF as Lone Soldiers – those who serve without immediate family in Israel; a former commando from Israel’s most elite special operations unit who received an FIDF IMPACT! scholarship and studies medicine in Israel; Israel Border Police Sgt. A, a Lone Soldier from France who recently saved fellow soldiers from a stabbing attack at her checkpoint; and Lt. Col. Shai Siman Tov, who was told he would never walk again when a terror tunnel collapsed on him during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

“After I was wounded, I made a promise to myself to leave the hospital on my feet – and I kept that promise,” said Siman Tov. “Thank you all for standing with me – and my fellow soldiers.”

Among the honored guests were Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, and Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni.

Distinguished guests included Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman, who presided as the evening’s master of ceremonies; FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark; FIDF National President Rabbi Peter Weintraub; FIDF National Chairmen Emeritus Nily Falic, Larry J. Hochberg, and Marvin Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.

Notable among the donations was a $10 million gift pledged by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson. Or Lachayal pledged $2.8 million and FIDF Young Leadership New York pledged $1.6 million. MASA Israel Journey, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and Nefesh B’Nefesh each pledged $1 million, as did FIDF National Chairman Emeritus Nily Falic. In addition, the Iranian American Jewish Federation pledged $610,000 and Beit Morasha pledged $500,000.

Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in-need, support for Lone Soldiers throughout their service and upon release, crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening presented a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the State of Israel and its brave men and women in uniform.
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Friends of the IDF (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner Salutes Israel’s Brave Soldiers

Waldorf Astoria New York – 301 Park Ave., New York, NY, Tuesday, March 15 at 5:30 p.m.

NEW YORK,  More than ­­­1,300 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country will come together to salute the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National New York Gala Dinner on March 15 at the landmark Waldorf Astoria New York. The evening will feature a keynote address by Israel’s minister of defense and former vice prime minister, Moshe Yaalon, and will honor business magnates, philanthropists and steadfast supporters of Israel, Dr. Miriam and her husband Sheldon G. Adelson.




A 37-year veteran of the IDF, Yaalon, who goes by the nickname “Bogie,” began his service in the Paratroopers Brigade, later becoming a commander in Israel’s most elite special operations unit, Sayeret Matkal. Yaalon rose through the ranks, holding high-level command positions such as chief of Israel’s military intelligence, head officer in charge of Israel’s Central Command, and, finally, chief of the general staff of the IDF.

“This evening will pay tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who protect the State of Israel and Jews worldwide. We are honored to have Israel’s minister of defense, Moshe ‘Bogie’ Yaalon, as well as Jewish philanthropic leaders Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, joining our community to welcome these soldiers,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. “We are all thankful for their sacrifices and look forward to showing them that while their job is to look after Israel, our job is to look after them.”

The honorees of the 2016 FIDF National New York Gala Dinner are Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, who will be recognized with the inaugural FIDF “Defenders of Israel” award for their lifelong philanthropy and support for a variety of causes in the U.S. and Israel. Israeli-born Dr. Miriam Adelson is an accomplished medical doctor and a former IDF soldier who served with distinction. Mr. Adelson is an entrepreneur and integrated-resorts developer who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest business leaders of his generation and currently employs more than 50,000 people worldwide. They are partners in varied and global business and philanthropic activities.

The Adelsons have joined a unique pantheon of the foremost names in Jewish philanthropy in modern Jewish history. They are the single largest funders of Birthright and Yad Vashem and have consecrated their success to the noble aim of always fighting for and protecting Israel and the Jewish people.

FIDF’s flagship national event is chaired by FIDF National President Rabbi Peter Weintraub. A Reform rabbi and businessman, he has been an avid FIDF supporter for 15 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for more than 70 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.
“The incredible and courageous young men and women of the IDF put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish homeland and Jews around the world – myself included,” said Weintraub. “Every one of us feels safer knowing that the State of Israel is guarded by these heroes. It is our moral obligation to stand with them and show our support.”

Special guests will be 30 IDF soldiers from various military units, including Sergeants Sydney and Solomon and Staff Sgt. Ariel, who are all originally from N.Y. and enlisted in the IDF as Lone Soldiers – those who serve without immediate family in Israel; a former commando from Israel’s most elite special operations unit who received an FIDF IMPACT! scholarship and studies medicine in Israel; Israel Border Police Sgt. A, a Lone Soldier from France who recently saved fellow soldiers from a stabbing attack at her checkpoint; and soldiers who fought and were wounded in Operation Protective Edge.
Honored guests will include Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, and Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni.

Distinguished guests will include Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman, who will preside as the evening’s master of ceremonies; FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark; FIDF National President Rabbi Peter Weintraub; FIDF National Chairmen Emeritus Nily Falic, Larry J. Hochberg, and Marvin Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.

The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.
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Over 100 FIDF Leaders from Across US Arriving in Israel to Get Rare Glimpse into Israeli Army

NEW YORK, More than 100 leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from all walks of life, representing communities from across the U.S., South Africa, and Australia, will arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow to join the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel to get a rare glimpse into the IDF and show their appreciation for Israel’s brave soldiers.

The mission, Nov. 13-20, will bring members of FIDF’s 15 chapters together with the soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants will receive in-depth briefings by senior military officers, meet with state leaders, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, tour strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experience Israel in an entirely new way.

"Now, more than ever, we stand side-by-side with the brave and courageous men and women of the IDF," said FIDF National President and National Leadership Mission Chairman Peter Weintraub. "By bringing more than 100 supporters to Israel for a week of solidarity with Israel and the IDF soldiers, we tell them, in one united voice, that we love them and will support them with everything we have."

Joining the FIDF National Leadership Mission will be Weintraub and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.

The group of FIDF leaders will visit FIDF-sponsored well-being and educational facilities on IDF bases to see how their support helps Israel’s soldiers every day; meet beneficiaries of FIDF programs, including Lone Soldiers and FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship recipients; tour pivotal military installations to get a comprehensive look into the cutting-edge technology Israel employs to protect its borders; and hear first-hand from IDF combat soldiers serving on Israel’s front lines.

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New York Delegation attends FIDF National Gala

1,200 prominent leaders from across the U.S. and Israel gather for annual New York City event


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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1,200 Jewish leaders to attend FIDF National Gala, March 10th

New York, More than 1,200 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country will come together in solidarity and support of the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner on March 10 at New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria.

FIDF’s premier national event will be chaired by FIDF National Board Member Rabbi Peter Weintraub. In 2004, Weintraub established a sheet factory in the Erez work zone near Gaza, eventually moving it to the southern city of Sderot, Israel, where he employed 75 women, mostly single mothers. In 1992, he established Bristol Associates, a home furnishings textile business, with offices in New Jersey, North Carolina, California, Shanghai, Karachi, and Mumbai. 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.

“These amazing young men and women of the IDF are protecting every single Jew in the world, including me,” Weintraub said. “Every Jew in the world holds their heads a little higher because we know these soldiers are there to protect us.”

Special guests will include 30 IDF soldiers of various ranks and military units, including 2nd Lt. Enbal, an educational officer in the Artillery Corps, whose brother, 1st Sgt. Avi, was shot and killed in Bet Hanoun, near Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. Most of the soldiers who will be in attendance have received citations for their courageous efforts in a number of operations, including Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense.

The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 PM, followed by dinner and program at 7 PM.

Distinguished attendees will include Dinner Chairman and FIDF National Board Member, Rabbi Peter Weintraub; FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF National Director and CEO Emeritus, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.

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Over 8,000 IDF soldiers receive Chanukah gift cards from The Fellowship and FIDF

More than $1.5 million will be spent as part of this year’s “Chanukah Fellowship Gift Cards” project



Israel,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS), will provide “Fellowship Gift Cards” as Chanukah gifts to over 8,000 soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so that the soldiers can celebrate Chanukah without the burden of financial stress.



The gift cards can be used in major retail chain stores across Israel to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure products. Among the soldiers who will receive this financial support will also be 2,500 Lone Soldiers, young men and women who choose to leave their countries of origin to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF. Lone Soldiers come from all corners of the globe to become part of the IDF melting pot and enrich it as well as add to its magnitude.



Over the past six years (2008-2013), FIDF and The Fellowship have provided almost $16 million of financial support to soldiers from low-income families.



As part of this support, FIDF and The Fellowship will distribute the “Fellowship Gift Cards” during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, and Passover. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier.



Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, said: “The growing cycle of poverty in Israel affects many soldiers. We appreciate the soldiers who decide to serve the State of Israel and keep us all safe despite the economic difficulties they are experiencing at home. Our goal in sponsoring the ‘Fellowship Gift Cards’ is to enable them to fulfill their obligation to the state while knowing they are fulfilling their obligation to their families as well. Now they can serve with peace of mind while caring for their personal needs and the needs of their families.”



“FIDF sees in the holiday of Chanukah another opportunity to support thousands of brave IDF soldiers, who serve as the Maccabees of the 21st Century,” stated FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon. “It is a great privilege, stemming from our mission and the vision of strengthening those who protect Israel, while further reinforcing the important bond between the community in America, the State of Israel, and its soldiers.”



Attached please find a photo of Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the Givati Brigade lighting Chanukah candles.

Photo credit: Friends of the IDF



About The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews:

The Fellowship was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Our ministry's vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect, and cooperation.



About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing and supporting educational, social, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men and women of the IDF. Today, FIDF has more than 120,000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. FIDF proudly offers its support to the IDF soldiers and their families through a variety of unique and innovative programs. These opportunities reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the State of Israel.
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