550 gather for FIDF Ohio Chapter Annual Dinner supporting programs for Israeli soldiers CLEVELAND, Sept. 13 – Some 550 community leaders gathered Sunday for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Ohio Chapter Annual Dinner at Executive Caterers to celebrate the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The evening featured a keynote speech by CNN regular, Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor, and the former Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, Bret Stephens.

“I think the reason you're here tonight is that you sense, not only as Jews, but also as Americans, that our security and our prosperity here in a nice suburb of Cleveland is intimately connected to what's going on way out there – and that is the front line in the boundary between civilization and barbarism,” said Stephens, who has interviewed scores of world leaders, including every Israeli prime minister since Shimon Peres took office.“The reason we're here tonight is not simply for the IDF. A large part of the reason we're here tonight is because of the IDF.”

“Are we going to stand by or are we going to betray the only serious friend, the only consistent friend we have in the region – the State of Israel?” asked Stephens.

Co-chairing the dinner were Ida Haber, Becky and David Heller, Regina and Gregg Eisenberg, Sara Hurand, Elie Weiss, and Ileen and Irving Rosner. The event also featured a special tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We chose to hold this dinner on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to remind ourselves of the threat of terror that Israeli soldiers face every day,” said Haber. “It is crucial for us to stand in solidarity with them – and to do all that we can to support their well-being.”

Attending were IDF soldiers 1st Lt. (Res.) Sivan, an Ethiopian Israeli who serves as an officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit despite her extremely rough childhood; Staff Sgt. (Res.) Elle, a Lone Soldier and combat paramedic, who was one of the few female soldiers to enter Gaza during Operation Protective Edge; Staff Sgt. (Res.) Tal, who served in the IDF Armored Corps and recently graduated from Tel Aviv University with help from the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program; and Cpl. Noa, a member of the IDF Orchestra. Other distinguished guests in attendance were FIDF Ohio Chairman Irwin Haber; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim; and FIDF Ohio Executive Director Lane Schlessel.

The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers.

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