ATLANTA, May 21 – More than 500 community leaders gathered Tuesday night at the Georgia Aquarium for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Atlanta Gala Dinner, raising more than $500,000 to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The evening, one of the Atlanta Jewish community’s largest events, which has grown in attendance by almost 100 people over last year or 25 percent, saluted the women soldiers of the IDF who served during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza – several of whom attended the gathering.

The event featured keynote speaker Brig. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, a 30-year veteran of the IDF who served as the Chief of the General Staff’s advisor on women’s affairs and handled all matters relating to women’s service in the Israeli military.

“As a woman officer, I often found myself trying to break the glass ceiling,” said Brig. Gen. (Res.) Klifi-Amir. “Up until 20 years ago, women in the IDF served in a narrow range of administration and support roles. Today, 95% of the jobs in the IDF are open to women, but there are still barriers impeding women’s success. For future generations we have the power to break barriers and allow tomorrow’s women to rise to leadership roles with less difficulty.”

The gala also honored Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States Ambassador Opher Aviran and his wife, Talyah.

“Tuesday night’s gala was especially meaningful,” said FIDF Southeast Region Executive Director Seth Baron. “It presented a great opportunity for us to show our love and appreciation to the brave young men and women of the Israel Defense Forces who served in Operation Protective Edge, including a number of our Lone Soldiers from the Atlanta community.”

All proceeds will go towards FIDF’s wellbeing and educational programs for Israeli soldiers, including: the Adopt a Brigade Program, which supports soldiers in-need and funds rest and recuperation weeks for the FIDF Southeast Region’s adopted brigade, the IDF Combat Intelligence Corps; the IMPACT! Program, which grants full academic scholarships to combat veterans; the Lone Soldiers Program, which supports soldiers with no immediate family in Israel; and the Wounded Veterans Program, which provides wounded veterans with physical, social, and psychological services and special prosthetics.

Co-chairing the event were Rachael and E. Jay Abt and Dorit and Natan Mordel.

Distinguished guests included several active-duty IDF soldiers; FIDF National Board Member and Southeast Region Chair Garry Sobel; Co-Founder of Home Depot and Founder of the Georgia Aquarium Bernie Marcus and his wife, Billi; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Southeast Region Executive Director Seth Baron.


CLICK HERE to see photos from the event

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