Friends of Israel Defense Forces Reaches Out to Harrisburg

On Tuesday, January 10, Mickey and Vered Shefet opened up their home in Harrisburg to leaders of FIDF – Friends of Israel Defense Forces and experienced a new ‘Mitzvah’ adventure.  A group of about 30 local distinguished guests attended the event and showed great interest in supporting the FIDF after they learned about its purpose.

At the end of a delightful cocktail hour, guests were invited to hear Keynote speaker, Col. Eran Makov talk about the current challenges of the State of Israel. Col. Makov described the heritage of the Jewish nation at the land of Israel and the opportunities and threats that rise in the Middle-east concerning the Arab Spring and Iran’s activism.

Also in the room was Col. (Res.) Pinhas (‘Pinky’) Zoaretz, FIDF Deputy National Director, who described a combat experience in Gaza-strip that left him seriously wounded.  With a strong desire to help the men and women who fight with their life to protect the State of Israel, and despite his disability, Zoaretz decided to pack up his entire family, move to the US, and support the FIDF from their national office in New York.

Other attendees who supported the evening’s discussion were LTC Alon Gal, the Technology & Logistic Attaché of the Israeli army in Washington DC and also two Lieutenant colonels in active service in the IDF.

Joining Col. Makov, Col. Zoaretz and the three Lieutenant Colonels was Tzvia Wexler, Director of FIDF’s Pennsylvania and Southern NJ Chapter.

One would never guess that this Chapter has been up and running for less than one year. In 11 months time, the Chapter held an ‘opening event’ at the American Museum of Jewish History in Philadelphia with over 800 guests in attendance, followed by a Gala in November that honored Ed Rendell, with Mayor Nutter kicking off the program.

The man behind the Harrisburg parlor meeting was Dani Shavit. Shavit, himself an Israeli who served as an officer in the IDF, coordinated the evening with Martin Brill, Julie Halbert, and Mickey Shefet.  Each of them echoed Wexler’s message, “I want to share with the community the strong belief behind the FIDF mission that the soldier’s job is to look after Israel, and ours is to look after them.”

The history of FIDF was also discussed. In 1981, a group of Holocaust survivors established the FIDF as a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing and supporting social, educational, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for young men and women in Israel who are required to join the military at the age of 18.

Last year, close to 1,500 notable business and philanthropic leaders gathered at the historic Waldorf=Astoria for the FIDF National Gala Dinner, demonstrating their love and support for the soldiers of Israel and raising over $23 Million.

On March 13, 2012 the FIDF National will celebrate the 31st Annual Gala, again at the Waldorf in NYC. The Pennsylvania and Southern NJ Chapter would like to extend the invitation and welcome the Harrisburg community to be a part of this network.

For further information about FIDF upcoming events or if you are ‎familiar with any synagogues, community groups or schools that want to be introduced to ‎FIDF, we have a number of speakers, interactive programs and multi-media presentations ‎that the Pennsylvania and Southern NJ Chapter offers. Please contact Tzvia Wexler at or Dani Shavit at
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