Less than a week before the US elections, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised a record $38 million at an annual celebrity gala Thursday at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.
According to Breaking Israel News, the event was chaired by businessman and media mogul Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl and included a number of prominent Jewish names including Serge Azria, Robert Book, Robert Kraft, Maurice and Paul Marciano and Casey Wasserman. Other celebrity guests in attendance included Julie Bowen, Gerard Butler, Robert De Niro, Joanna Krupa and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“We are gratified to see that the FIDF’s important mission – to provide well-being and educational programs for the heroic men and women of the IDF – continues to resonate with the Los Angeles community,” Saban said.
Founded in 1981, the FIDF provides educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities to Israeli soldiers and families.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, made the single largest contribution of the night of $6 million.
“The commitment of Israel’s soldiers to protecting their country and her citizens is truly inspiring and remarkable,” Eckstein said. “It is incumbent upon us to stand by these brave soldiers and support them in whatever way we can, so they know how deep our commitment is to their well being and their futures.”
Recently, the Obama administration has signed a $38 billion deal to Israeli military aid for the fiscal years 2019- 2028, which is the biggest US-Israeli arm deal in history.