The Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) will honor Israeli soldiers with a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria New York on March 15.
“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 FIDF National President Rabbi Peter 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.”
Established by Holocaust survivors in 1981, FIDF is a nonprofit organization that supports educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for IDF soldiers, with support for their families and wounded vets.
The gala will be attended by 1,300 prominent business and philanthropic leaders, in addition to 30 IDF soldiers from across the military. In attendance will be enlisted soldiers from New York who are Lone Soldiers — those who serve without immediate family in Israel.
The event will also celebrate honorees billionaire businessman Sheldon G. Adelson and his wife Miriam, who will be recognized with the inaugural FIDF “Defenders of Israel” award for their lifelong philanthropy and support for a number of causes in the U.S. and Israel.
Miriam Adelson is a medical doctor who served in the IDF with distinction. Sheldon Adelson is an entrepreneur whose companies employ 50,000 people worldwide. The Adelsons are the single largest funders of Birthright, a nonprofit organization that sponsors educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults, and Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem.
Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon, Israel’s minister of defense and a former vice president – as well as a 37-year veteran of the IDF – will give the keynote speech. Other noteworthy guests include Israel Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon; Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni; and Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman, who will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
The 2016 FIDF National New York Gala Dinner will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.