Thousands of supporters from across the globe joined Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) in saluting Israel’s soldiers and veterans Sunday evening at the first-ever virtual FIDF National Gala. The 2020 FIDF National Gala, themed “A Night of Heroes,” raised a total of over $15 million to support well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, with donations still being made.
Black Hawk pilot Captain T. in ‘ Air, Land, and Sea’ at FIDF Gala (FIDF)
The program featured several segments honoring IDF soldiers, including Lone Soldiers, who join the IDF with no immediate family in Israel. Among those being recognized at the gala was a female Black Hawk Pilot, Cpt. T., who participated in an opening segment called “Air, Land, and Sea,” in which active-duty soldiers took the audience on a training mission. Another feature, focusing on one family’s multi-generational story, highlighted FIDF’s Witnesses in Uniform Program.
The gala featured a live performance by global pop star and active IDF soldier Noa Kirel, who recently signed a deal with Atlantic Records, the largest ever for an Israeli artist. Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel also performed live, as did the IDF Musical Ensemble featuring IDF soldier Eden Alena, who will represent Israel in the next Eurovision Song Contest.
FIDF National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub and Israeli-American actress, model, and host Moran Atias presided as masters of ceremonies.
Idan Raichel performing at FIDF Virtual Gala (FIDF)
Other distinguished guests who participated in the gala included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israel’s Minister of Defense Benny Gantz; IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi; founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Pastor John Hagee; and President and CEO of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) Yael Eckstein. FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir ‑ who will be succeeded this month by incoming FIDF National Director and CEO Steven Weil – gave a farewell speech after six years of unprecedented