Record $54 Million Raised for Israeli Soldiers at FIDF California Gala

(Photo credit: Shahar Azran)
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces raised $53.8 million at a Beverly Hills gala — a record, according to organizers — to help Israeli soldiers in need.

Some 1,200 people were in attendance at the annual event on Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, raising funds for services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans; financial assistance; support for Lone Soldiers throughout their service; aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers; weeks of rest and recuperation for army units; as well as educational, cultural and recreational facilities.

Gerard Butler with IDF (Photo credit: Alexi Rosenfeld)

Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle and its executive chairman gave $16.6 million — the largest single gift in FIDF history. His donation will support the construction of well-being facilities on a new training campus for coed infantry units.

(Photo credit: Shahar Azran)

“For 2,000 years, we were a stateless people, but now, we have a country we can call our own,” Ellison said. “Through all of the perilous times since Israel’s founding, we have called on the brave men and women of the IDF to defend our home.

Seal sings at FIDF Photo credit: Shahar Azran

In my mind, there is no greater honor than supporting some of the bravest people in the world, and I thank FIDF for allowing us to celebrate and support these soldiers year after year. We should do all we can to show these heroic soldiers that they are not alone.”

L-David Foster, Seal, former CA governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cheryl Haim Saban, Sem Grundwerg, Israel Consul General West Coast USA & IDF visitors-photo Alexi Rosenfeld

Israeli actress and model Moran Atias emceed the event, which featured special performances by Seal, The Tenors, David Foster & Friends and Gene Simmons of KISS fame.

Celebrity guests included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gerard Butler, Katharine McPhee, Paul Reubens and Melissa Rivers, as well as Miss Israel 2013, Yityish Titi Aynaw.

Photo credit: Shahar Azran