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IMPACT! Meets the President

Thanks to cooperation between FIDF’s IMPACT! Program and the security department at the president’s house, the staff of FIDF’s IMPACT! Program, led by IMPACT! Executive Director, Orna Pesach, had the honor to visit Israel’s President, Reven “Ruby” Rivlin at his home last week. During the brief meeting, Orna gave the President his very own FIDF IMPACT! shirt. Further, they discussed a young man they have in common—Max, a Lone Soldier from Russia who served in the Golani Brigade, and received a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management thanks to IMPACT!. During university, Max worked as a security guard at the president’s house, and is presently the Director of Purchasing and Logistics there. 

The meeting was a true honor, and rather exciting as well!

General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, paid tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks

This past Friday, IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, paid tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial. Joined by FIDF National Executive Director, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, among others, Gantz’s visit was a moving reminder of universal grief wrought on that day, as well as the enduring solidarity between Israel and the United States.

WATCH: IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, thanks FIDF supporters

At the FIDF Annual Event in Israel on November 19, 2014, delegates on the FIDF Leadership Mission to Israel had the opportunity to hear directly from IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, who thanked them for their continuous support:

“I really want to say, once again, thank you, and how much me and all the commanders and soldiers of the IDF really appreciate your efforts. You could have done other things. You could have found other paths for giving things, but nevertheless you decided to be with us - here today, but as important - always, and I’m sure that you’ll always be here as well. You’re not just giving money. You’re not just friends. You’re not just ambassadors. You are more than that. You are simply partners and everything that you give is always yours, so thank you very much.”

160 FIDF leaders from across the U.S. visit Israel to meet IDF soldiers and commanders
Nearly 160 leaders and supporters of FIDF from all walks of life, representing various communities across the U.S., joined the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel this week to show their appreciation for the brave men and women of the IDF

VIP events included meetings with Israel’s newly elected President, Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, and the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, as well as a briefing by Israel’s senior official on Arab Affairs, Avi Melamed.

“FIDF are the real friends of Israel and of the Jewish people,” said President Rivlin. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the people of Israel. Thank you for taking care of our soldiers, our sons and daughters, and those who come alone to defend us.” The sold-out FIDF Mission, which took place November 14-21, brought members of FIDF’s 15 U.S. chapters together with the soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants received in-depth briefings by senior military officers, met with state leaders, and toured strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military.

Joining the FIDF Leadership Mission were National Chairman, Nily Falic; National Executive Director, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Chief Executive Officer, Alan E. Scholnick; and National Director and CEO Emeritus, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.

“This National Leadership Mission allowed our FIDF supporters to forge even deeper bonds with the brave men and women of the IDF, who put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish State and the Jewish people,” said Falic. “We are grateful for this incredible opportunity to have visited the beloved country of Israel and learn more about how we can support the wellbeing needs of its soldiers. While they look after Israel, it is incumbent upon us to look after them.” The group of FIDF leaders heard first-hand from soldiers about serving on the front lines, toured a pivotal Iron Dome Battery in the South of Israel that helped defend its people from thousands of rocket attacks, visited the Gaza Division headquarters to get briefed on the current security situation by the division’s commander, joined a unique gathering with soldiers who served in Operation Protective Edge this summer, visited the Hatzerim Air Force Base in the Negev Desert to meet F-15 and F-16 pilots, and learned about the activities of elite units such as the Givati Brigade and the “Iron Trails” Armored Brigade.

An emotional evening for FIDF Leadership Mission delegates at the Annual Event in Israel

The FIDF Annual Event in Israel was held on November 19th in Tel Aviv and was attended by 160 leaders and supporters of the IDF soldiers, currently participating in the FIDF Leadership Mission to Israel. These delegates were joined by IDF soldiers, commanders, top Israeli officials, partner organizations, and hundreds of students who received an IMPACT! Scholarship from FIDF.

Among the honored guests in attendance was IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, who addressed the audience and commented on the terrorist attack the day prior in Jerusalem: “IDF commanders and soldiers, other security organizations, and the Israeli Police are all coping every day with many events of different natures. These cruel and inhumane events provided a reminder that the situation can change from moment to moment and that we have to continue being vigilant, remaining in a state of constant readiness, to do whatever it takes to protect the security of our people. The State of Israel knows that even after 66 years of independence, the IDF still needs to continue defending Israel and the Diaspora.”

The climax of the evening was a particularly moving family reunion. For over two years, Yuri and Sasha, twin brothers who made Aliyah from Ukraine, hadn’t seen their parents. When they moved to Israel, both were drafted into combat units and recently participated in Operation Protective Edge, in which Yuri was wounded. As part of FIDF’s Lone Soldiers Program, FIDF funded flights for all Lone Soldiers who participated in the Operation to visit their families. However, Yuri and Sasha’s visit to Ukraine was prohibited due to their parents’ residence in a sensitive combat zone in Donetsk. Nonetheless, FIDF was determined to reunite Yuri and Sasha’s family and concluded that if the soldiers couldn’t visit their parents, the parents would visit the children! In a complicated operation, FIDF succeeded in flying Sasha and Yuri’s parents to Israel without the boys’ knowledge. Finally, after two and a half years, the dramatic reunion between these brave soldiers and their parents took place on the stage in front of a huge crowd.

FIDF Western Region Gala Raises Over $33 Million To Support IDF Soldiers

Over $33 million was raised at the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala on Thursday, November 6, 2014, breaking all records at the event where more than 1,200 supporters from the United States and Israel gathered to support the brave men and women of the IDF. Those in attendance included respected leaders and widely-known figures from the Hollywood, business, tech, sports and political communities. FIDF National Board Member and major supporter, Haim Saban, and his wife, Cheryl, served as chairs of the star-studded Gala that took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA

FIDF Receives the Highest 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

FIDF Receives the Highest 4-Star Rating for the 5th Consecutive Year

On April 1st, Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities, awarded Friends of the IDF the highest 4-star rating for the fifth consecutive year.
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