We cannot possibly thank you enough for joining us on November 21, 2016 -- along with 450 devoted FIDF supporters -- for our 12th Annual New Jersey IDF Tribute Dinner at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel. Because of your presence and support, we raised nearly $1 million to expand care for Lone Soldiers and for all the brave young men and women who serve and sacrifice to protect Israel.
Keynote Speaker Brigitte Gabriel with IDF Soldiers
Emcee Lance Drucker masterfully guided the event, and gave a special shout-out to Lone Soldiers who "didn't have to serve in the IDF. They CHOSE to serve!"  As father of a former paratrooper, Drucker shared sentiments familiar to so many past and present Lone Soldier family members in the room: "while the uncertainty of his situation and well-being gave me many sleepless nights, it was comforting to know that I am part of a community that constantly bands together in support and care of soldiers like my son." 
Lance Drucker welcomes Lone Soldier Sgt. Ari
Another of New Jersey's own, Lone Soldier Sgt. Ari, who made Aliya soon after Operation Protective Edge began and found himself combating threats to the northern border with an anti-guerilla unit, shared how a special brand of camaraderie kept him going in the IDF: "In the beginning, I had no idea what was going on. I barely understood, let alone spoke the language. But to my luck, I had the friends of my 'tzevet,' my teammates to help along the way. These guys weren't just my friends, they became my brothers."
Forced into years of perilous underground hiding as a child during the Lebanese Civil War, keynote speaker Brigitte Gabriel -- of Christian Lebanese descent -- survived thanks to the incursion of IDF forces in 1978. Having risen to world renown as a leading journalist, global terrorism expert, and anti-terrorist activist, Gabriel called all past and present IDF soldiers to stand and be applauded for their "goodness and integrity": 

"Not only does the Israel Defense Forces serve and protect its people, but the IDF also remains the most moral army in the world - a shining light in the darkest corner of the world - even as it fights on the front lines against the vicious scourge of terrorism."

Perseverance and courage also turned Staff Sgt. (Res.) Oren Almog's devastating early encounter with terrorism into a tale of hope. As a young child, Oren barely survived a horrific suicide bomb attack on a Haifa restaurant, an attack that killed his father, brother, and grandparents.... and left Oran almost entirely blind. 
"When my friends reached 18, they all joined the army, but I was exempt due to my injury. I didn't accept that because, after what I have been through, I realized how important it is for a state to be able to defend its citizens. So I volunteered to serve in a classified unit at the Intelligence Department. I can honestly say that with a strong willpower and the right support, even from the most difficult and tragic ordeal, it is truly possible to turn out a winner." 

This evening of hope and heroism could never have happened without Jodi and Saul Scherl, Co-Chairs of the newly-formed New Jersey Chapter Board, together with the entire Tribute Dinner Committee. Also in attendance were FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark; past FIDF National Board member and IDF veteran Josef "Chick" Paradis; FIDF National Board member Sammy Bar-Or; FIDF National Board member Melinda Lowell Paltrow; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta. 


On behalf of the valiant young men and women of the IDF, the State of Israel, and our board and staff here at the FIDF, we thank you again for your steadfast support of Israel's soldiers. 


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