Over 1,200 to Celebrate Israeli War Heroes at FIDF National Gala

Friends of the IDF (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner ‘A Night of Heroes’
New York Hilton Midtown – 1335 6th Ave., New York, NY
Tuesday, March 14 at 5:30 p.m.
NEW YORK, March 7 – More than ­­­1,200 leading business people and philanthropists from across the country will salute the brave soldiers and veterans from all of Israel’s military operations and wars at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National N.Y. Gala Dinner on March 14 at the New York Hilton Midtown. The event’s special program will feature active-duty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and veterans of the Six-Day War, the Second Lebanon War, and Operation Entebbe.

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 over 16 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for more than 85 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

The evening will also hold a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War led by the legendary Israeli Air Force (IAF) test pilot, Danny Shapira, who was one of the very first to protect Israel’s skies. Commander of the IAF Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel will join the event via video to discuss Israel’s recent acquisition of the new F-35 fighter jet, the most advanced warplane in the region.

Second Lebanon War veteran and former Member of Knesset Yonatan Chetboun will recount the harrowing Battle of Bint Jbeil, for which he was awarded a Chief of Staff Citation for his bravery. Chetboun, who was a commando in the IDF’s special Egoz unit, carried the five bodies of his comrades on his back under heavy fire so their remains could be returned to Israel.

Also speaking will be a hero of Operation Entebbe, the famous Israeli rescue mission at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in 1976 that saved 102 hijacked Air France passengers who were held hostage by terrorists.

Special guests will include 16 IDF soldiers and officers from several military units, including one of the IAF’s few women combat flight navigators, Capt. “Y.”;  Capt. Dafna, a field surgeon who is now the medical officer for all airborne units, including the Paratroopers Brigade and special operations; Capt. Avidav, a field intelligence officer who develops unmanned ground vehicles that protect Israel’s borders and assist troops on the battlefield; and Sgt. Yasmine, a parachuting instructor and U.K. emigre who has more than 60 jumps under her belt.

“Since its founding, Israel has fought for its right to exist as a free nation and guarantee the security and prosperity of its people. This freedom and safety relies first and foremost on the existence of a strong and moral army,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. “At this ‘Night of Heroes,’ we salute the men and women soldiers who have taken part in the ongoing struggle of the State of Israel. Each and every one of them is another link in the chain of the IDF heroism and the Jewish State, as they continue to serve today – ‘L’dor Va’dor’ (from generation to generation) – and we all owe them our deepest gratitude. While their job is to look after Israel, our job is to look after them.”

“The heroic men and women of the IDF put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish state and protect Jews everywhere,” said Weintraub. “This national gala event will honor their sacrifices, celebrate their victories, and afford us the opportunity to personally thank them for all that they do in service to Israel and the Jewish people.”

Honored guests will include Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Amb. Danny Danon; Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan; FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark; Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman, who will preside as master of ceremonies; and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.

The gala will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.

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 offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers, and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the State of Israel. For more information, please visit: www.fidf.org.

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