A delegation of 60 Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) supporters from across the U.S. participated in the FIDF National Mission to Israel Nov. 15-22, including getting behind-the-scenes tours of Israel Defense Force (IDF) bases, meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and showing their solidarity with and appreciation for Israel’s soldiers amid a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza.

: The FIDF National Mission at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, on Nov. 18. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.
: The FIDF National Mission at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, on Nov. 18. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.

“The brave, young soldiers of the IDF have given up several years of their lives, and sometimes for life-threatening missions. Your support of FIDF, and FIDF’s diverse and broad range of programs to improve soldiers' welfare, allows our soldiers to know that their brothers and sisters overseas care about them,” President Rivlin told the mission members. “Supporting our soldiers helps to strengthen Israeli society as a whole. Thank you very much for everything you do. We truly appreciate it.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, seated next to FIDF National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub, speaking to the FIDF National Mission, on Nov. 17. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, seated next to FIDF National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub, speaking to the FIDF National Mission, on Nov. 17. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.

Leading the FIDF National Mission were FIDF National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.

Klifi-Amir expressed gratitude to both President Rivlin and mission participants. “I thank you, Mr. President, for your support and hospitality, and I want to thank our FIDF supporters who came to Israel on this special mission. They live all over the U.S., but their hearts are in Israel, with the people of Israel and the IDF soldiers. Together, we are sending a clear message to the brave soldiers -- you are never alone.”  

The FIDF National Mission at the Ramat David Israel Air Force Base, on Nov. 18. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.
The FIDF National Mission at the Ramat David Israel Air Force Base, on Nov. 18. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.

During the mission, the participants met with Israeli soldiers and commanders at multiple IDF bases, including Israeli Navy bases, the Ramat David Israel Air Force Base, and the Michve Alon IDF Education and Youth Corps Base; visited historic and strategic landmarks from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the Lebanon border; received leadership training in areas such as innovative thinking and teamwork; toured the facilities of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to get a comprehensive look into the cutting-edge technology Israel employs to protect itself; and learned about Israel’s complex political and social mosaic by meeting people from all walks of Israeli life. Mission participants also heard a range of speakers and took part in workshops.

The FIDF National Mission at the Lebanon border, on Nov. 19. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.
The FIDF National Mission at the Lebanon border, on Nov. 19. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.

The group of FIDF leaders visited FIDF-sponsored well-being and educational facilities on IDF bases and met beneficiaries of FIDF programs – including Lone Soldiers with no immediate family in Israel, and students who benefit from the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants four-year academic scholarships to combat and combat-support veterans from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The FIDF National Mission at the Lebanon border, on Nov. 19. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.
The FIDF National Mission at the Lebanon border, on Nov. 19. Photo Credits: Shahar Azran.