$4.5 million was raised at 2015 annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Greater Miami Chapter Solidarity Gala at The Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. More than 1,100 FIDF supporters and lay leaders joined together in honoring FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic.
Falic, a seventh-generation Israeli, was the chairman of the Instituto Cultural Floridiano Israeli and is a recipient of the Galardon De Jose Marti Award. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah Women and a recipient of the Weitzman Institute “Women of Vision” award. She and her family are passionate advocates and supporters of the State of Israel. Her three grandsons were Lone Soldiers -- those who immigrate alone to Israel to enlist in the IDF -- and served as paratroopers.
“Since the day I was drafted in 1998 with a mission to reestablish the FIDF Greater Miami Chapter in order to provide for the wellbeing of the IDF soldiers, I have watched it like a proud parent grow with remarkable achievements that greatly enhance and impact the lives of the brave IDF soldiers and the Israeli society,”
“In fact, the State of Israel and the IDF are synonymous; one cannot exist without the other. We at FIDF have a mission with a vision, which is to strengthen the IDF soldiers and the Israeli society, and to nurture a strong and meaningful bond between our communities and the State of Israel.”
Among other event speakers were Lt. Col. Roei, commanding officer of the Reconnaissance Battalion of the Golani Brigade. Lt. Col. Roei and his team received the Chief of Staff Award in late 2013 after his regiment found and destroyed explosives that terrorists had placed on Israel’s Golan Heights border with Syria. In addition, the group came up with the idea of establishing a field hospital on the Golan Heights to treat the wounded from the neighboring Syrian Civil War.
Special guests also included four other IDF soldiers, among them Maj. Nadav, a Deputy Battalion Commander in the Golani Brigade. During last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, Nadav evacuated dozens of injured and mortally wounded soldiers while under fire. He commanded four Namer (armored vehicles) and saved the lives of numerous fellow soldiers.
Capt. Adi, Battery Commander in Israel’s Air Defense Command, was injured during her service. Today, she commands 80 soldiers, including five officers. Capt. Shir, Operations Officer at a brigade training base, was shot in both knees during Operation Protective Edge after he and his team entered the Gaza Strip to locate and destroy terrorist tunnels. 2nd Lt. Ekaterina, a Naval Control Officer, was posted near the Gaza border during Operation Protective Edge. On the first day of the operation, she and her team prevented four terrorists from infiltrating into Israel.
Prominent guests also included Gala Co-Chairs Monica and Alberto Sasson and Hedy and Daniel Whitebook; FIDF Greater Miami Region President, Oscar Feldenkreis; Senior Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Yael Eckstein; wife of Pastor John Hagee, Diana Hagee; Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, MK Limor Livnat; Israel Defense and Armed Forces attaché to the U.S. and Canada, Maj. Gen. Yaacov Ayish; FIDF National Chairman Emeritus, Arthur Stark; FIDF National Vice President, Dr. Michael Kalisman; FIDF National Board Member, Sam Moshe; FIDF National Board Member, Gerald Mizel; FIDF National Board Member, Richard Kwal and wife, Gail; FIDF National Board Member, Harry Gross; FIDF National Board Member, Melinda Lowell Paltrow; FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF National Director and CEO Emeritus, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; and FIDF Florida Executive Director, Dina Ben Ari.