New York salutes IDF soldiers

$37 million raised for IDF soldiers at FIDF National Gala, ‘A Night of Heroes.’

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

New York salutes IDF soldiers
New York salutes IDF soldiers
Shahar Arzan

More than ­­­1,200 business leaders and philanthropists from across the country saluted Israel’s brave soldiers and veterans at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National N.Y. Gala Dinner on Wednesday, raising a record $37 million to support well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.

The event took place at the New York Hilton Midtown and featured active-duty IDF soldiers and other special guests.

A delegation of 20 IDF soldiers and officers attended the gala, including soldiers who volunteered to serve Israel proudly despite not being required to do so due to their backgrounds and special circumstances.

Among them were Cpl. Sofie, a Danish Lone Soldier – one who enlists in the IDF without having immediate family in Israel -- who was raised as a Christian, though her Jewish father served in the IDF. She is one of the few women to serve as an F-35 jet mechanic in the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

Another soldier was Lt. A., a Lone Soldier from eastern Jerusalem whose decision to join the IDF, which he viewed as his patriotic duty, cost him his family, friends, and home, though he is now realizing his childhood dream of being an IDF officer and is excited about his future.

Others included Staff Sgt. Aaron, a Lone Soldier from New Jersey who serves in the Paratroopers Brigade; Sgt. Eitan, an Israeli Orthodox combat soldier serving in the Givati Brigade, which primarily performs anti-terror operations; and Maj. Yossi, who was a commander in a combat engineering unit operating inside the Hezbollah tunnels into northern Israel.

The gala also featured the generational story of a family of heroes, stretching from the Six-Day War to modern Israel.

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.