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Ashton Kutcher and Pharrell Williams among Stars and Supporters at FIDF Western Region Gala Chaired by Haim and Cheryl Saban

November 2, 2018

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 2, 2018--Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised $60 million at its annual Western Region Gala on Thursday, Nov. 1, held at the landmark Beverly Hilton Hotel. The figure represents the most money raised at any single FIDF event in the organization’s history. The sold-out gala, which has become one of Los Angeles’ premier charitable events, united over 1,200 supporters from across the country to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

For the 12 th year, FIDF National Board Member and major supporter Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, chaired the star-studded gala. Guests included prominent business, philanthropic, and political leaders and celebrated names in entertainment, fashion, sports, and technology, including Ashton Kutcher; Pharrell Williams; Gerard Butler; Andy Garcia; Fran Drescher; Ziggy Marley; David Foster; Katharine McPhee; David Draiman; A. C. Green; Ralph Sampson; Robert Horry; Josh Flag; Israeli actress and star of hit Netflix show FaudaRona-Lee Shim’on; Israeli actor Yaakov Zada Daniel, also of Fauda and an FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient; Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg; business magnates and philanthropists Dr.Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, Serge Azria, and Florence Azria; Managing Member of R.H. Book LLC and Chairman of Jet Support Services Inc.  Robert Book and his wife,  Amy; Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his wife, Joelle; GUESS Founders  Maurice  and  Paul Marciano; FIDF National Chairman Rabbi PeterWeintraub; FIDF National President RobertCohen; FIDF National Board Member and Western Region President Tony Rubin and his wife, Linda; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Western Region Executive Director Jenna Griffin.

“We are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave men and women of the IDF,” said Haim Saban. “Cheryl and I are extremely proud to chair this event for the 12 th year, and to be part of this incredible organization that inspires more and more supporters and contributions every year.”

The top donations announced at the event were $10 million from Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson and $10 million from Haim and Cheryl Saban.

Rabbi Eckstein, who has contributed more than $45 million to FIDF in the last few years, donated $5 million at the gala. “We are so deeply grateful to FIDF for the commendable support they provide the real heroes of Israel, the men and women on the front lines, and The Fellowship is proud to be their partner in this vital mission.”

The event featured a special performance by Pharrell Williams. Presiding as the evening’s master of ceremonies was Staff Sgt. (Res.) Izzy Ezagui, an American who moved to Israel, became a decorated squad commander in the IDF, and returned to the battlefield after losing an arm in combat.

The gala presented a moving program, which told the 70-year history of Israel through the eyes of its heroes, including the multigenerational story of the Duvdevani family, whose members are commended for their heroic actions protecting Israel. The experiences of the IDF’s paramedics – the heroes behind the heroes – were shared through the stories of Staff Sgt. Yotam, a paramedic in the Paratroopers’ Brigade, who helped an American soldier in need of critical medical treatment during Operation Swift Response, an international exercise in Poland; Staff Sgt. Erez, who served as a combat medic in the “Egoz” unit of the Golani Brigade during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, and supported his unit in the Shuja’iyeh neighborhood of Gaza, arriving at the scene under heavy fire and saving the life of his severely injured commander; and Lt. Noam, a paramedic in the Armored Corps, who attempted to perform resuscitation on a critically wounded soldier during Operation Protective Edge, despite his low chances of survival.

Finally, guests celebrated the triumph of the human spirit as Col. Shai Siman-Tov, who was critically wounded during Operation Protective Edge, shared his story. His injuries left him paralyzed and in need of a wheelchair; however, undeterred by his injury, Shai returned to the IDF and is now a team leader at the Tactical Command College. In 2017, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.

Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in-need, support for Lone Soldiers throughout their service and upon release, crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening presented a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the state of Israel and its brave men and women in uniform.

Below please find photos from Thursday’s FIDF Western Region Gala, or download all of them here: https://fidf.box.com/s/170ssq48yya8op6t0yx9vf4msa4xv8z7

Photo 1: ( From left to right ) Andy Garcia, Fran Drescher, Dr. Miriam Adelson, Gerard Butler, Sheldon G. Adelson, Haim and Cheryl Saban, Katharine McPhee, David Foster with IDF Soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 2: ( From left to right ) Andy Garcia, Cheryl Saban, Haim Saban, Fran Drescher, FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir with IDF soldiers and the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 3: Pharrell Williams performing at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 4:Ashton Kutcher with Lt. Noam at the FIDF Western Region Gala - FIDF Photo 5: Haim Saban, Ashton Kutcher and Gerard Butler at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 6: Israeli actors and stars of hit Netflix show FaudaRona-Lee Shim’on and Yaakov Zada Daniel, with Gerard Butler and IDF soldiers, at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 7:Ralph Sampson and A. C. Green with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 8: Lt. Noam with the bereaved mother of Oded Ben Sira (Z”L), the soldier she tirelessly attempted to save, at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Noam Chen Photo 9: Col. Shai Siman-Tov, who was critically wounded during Operation Protective Edge, shared his story at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Noam Chen Photo 10:Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 11:Haim Saban addresses guests at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Noam Chen Photo 12:Fran Drescher, Ashton Kutcher and Gerard Butler at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Noam Chen Photo 13:Katharine McPhee and David Foster at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Alexi Rosenfeld Photo 14:Brian Grazer and Haim Saban with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 15: Fran Drescher with IDF soldiers at FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 16:Ziggy and Orly Marley at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Alexi Rosenfeld Photo 17:David Foster with Maurice Marciano at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Alexi Rosenfeld Photo 18:Pharrell Williams performing at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran Photo 19:(From left to right)Gerard Butler, Haim and Cheryl Saban, Joelle and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and daughter Yael Eckstein with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala – Shahar Azran

About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 20 chapters throughout the United States and Panama. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers, and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the state of Israel. For more information, please visit: www.fidf.org.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181102005251/en/

CONTACT: Media:

Zach Wallens, Puder PR, New York

Office: +1 (212) 558-9400; Cell: +1 (518) 265-5859; from Israel: 03-7220237 ext. 3

zach@puderpr.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA MIDDLE EAST ISRAEL

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ENTERTAINMENT OTHER ENTERTAINMENT CELEBRITY PHILANTHROPY PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES EVENTS/CONCERTS OTHER PHILANTHROPY FOUNDATION FUND RAISING

SOURCE: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 11/02/2018 08:00 AM/DISC: 11/02/2018 08:02 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181102005251/en

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