FIDF Western Region Gala Chair Haim Saban with Barbra Streisand
Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld, AJR Photography

Friends of the IDF Western Region Chapter Holds a Once In A Lifetime Gala to Benefit Israel's Soldiers


Barbra Streisand, David Foster and Jason Alexander entertained at a spectacular sold out event


On Thursday, December 8th, over 1,200 people filled the Los Angeles Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel to honor Israel’s brave soldiers. The annual Gala, which was chaired for the fifth year by Cheryl & Haim Saban, was completely sold out by the first of December and had raised $2.5 million before the evening even began to support a variety of programs that ease the burden and further the wellbeing of Israel’s soldiers.

Gala Co-Chairs included Roger and Beth Ailes, Joyce & Avi Arad, Itta & Irving Bauman, Hon. Lili & Jon Bosse, Megan & Peter Chernin, Lissa & Adam Chesnoff, Ruth & Leo David, Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Mathias Dopfner, Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer & Mel Keefer, Erika Glazer, Sue & Larry Hochberg, Kennon & Robert Hudson, the Israeli Leadership Council, Tsipi & Daniel Mani, Mareva & Paul Marciano, Kelly & Ron Meyer, Pouran & Parviz Nazarian, Joelle & Jack Rimokh, Linda & Tony Rubin, Fela & David Shapell, Vicki & Ron Simms, Susan & Eric Smidt, David Wiener, Andrea & Steve Wynn and Joyce Zeff. Friends of the Israel Defense Forces was represented by the presence of National Director Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, National Chairman Nily Falic, National President Julian Josephson and National Vice President and President of the Western Region Rabbi Isaac Jeret.

IDF soldiers with FIDF National Director, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak
(Jerry) Gershon, Barbra Streisand, David Foster and Haim Saban
Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld, AJR Photography

During his formal remarks, Gala Chair Haim Saban stated, “Based on shared values and common interests, the U.S. and Israel are one, or you could also say two nations united under God.  Do these two strong allies always agree?  No. But we share a deep bond that is way above any one individual, or two, or any one disagreement… or many.  Which is why, as an Israeli-American, I stand here tonight, with great pride, wearing that pin of the Israeli and American Flags.”

The moving and impactful program included remarks from American-born lone soldier, Sergeant Elan Lubliner, cousin of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda in 2002. He remarked upon his choice to travel to Israel to serve in the IDF by stating, “I am here for every dead Jew whose crime it was to be born into this tribe. I am here so that their children will say ‘I am Jewish’ without fear that these words might be their last ones. Daniel Pearl inspired me to come to Israel and to protect my people, but he did not bring me here. I chose this.”

Elan was followed by an exceptional young female pilot serving in the Israeli Air Force and then by the joining onstage of two national heroes, Israeli Ron Weinreich and US Sergeant Edward Schrank. Both Weinreich and Schrank were wounded during service to their respective countries. Their courage and sacrifice apparent to all, these two brave individuals highlighted the evening’s theme: The United States and Israel: Standing Together.

This exceptional gala continued after dinner, led by the evening’s master of ceremonies, award winning actor and comedian Jason Alexander with spectacular entertainment led by David Foster, the 16-time Grammy winning artist, who charmed the room with his talent and humor. Entering the audience, he cajoled an impressive impromptu performance of Besame Mucho out of attendee Antonio Banderas as well as a delightful matching performance of the song by Gala Chair Haim Saban. But the room was really on their feet when Foster had former soldier Ron Weinreich sing a rocking rendition of “Proud Mary.” Foster was later joined by two outstanding young talents, Nita Whitaker and Cody Karey, who movingly sang “The Prayer” and Christian singer Michael W. Smith who performed “There She Stands,” an ode to the Israeli flag. The entertainment culminated in a masterful performance by the incomparable Barbra Streisand. Streisand performed three of her masterpieces, “The Windmills of your Mind,” “People,” and “The Way We Were.” Backed by a full choir, Streisand concluded the evening with an extraordinary performance of the traditional Jewish prayer “Avinu Malkeinu.”

More Links and Information:

Watch a video of IDF veteran Ron Weinreich singing "Proud Mary"
Visit Barbrastreisand.com and read the article about the event here
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