Marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, more than 60 leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from across the United States traveled to Israel this month as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel, getting an exclusive look into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and showing their solidarity with and appreciation for Israel’s brave soldiers amid a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces supporters visit IDF soldiers at the Tel Nof Air Force base on November 11, as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel.
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces supporters visit IDF soldiers at the Tel Nof Air Force base on November 11, as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel.

The mission, Nov. 9-16, brought members of FIDF’s chapters together with high-ranking officers and soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants received in-depth geopolitical briefings by senior military officers, met with state leaders, toured strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experienced Israel in an entirely new way.

The FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel with Brig. Gen. Rafi Milo, IDF Galilee Division Commander, near Israel’s border with Lebanon, on November 13.
The FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel with Brig. Gen. Rafi Milo, IDF Galilee Division Commander, near Israel’s border with Lebanon, on November 13.

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 soldiers from low socioeconomic backgrounds; toured pivotal military installations, such as the Tel Nof Air Force base, to get a comprehensive look into the cutting-edge technology Israel employs to protect its skies and borders; visited the Michve Alon Education and Youth Corps base; heard directly from IDF combat soldiers serving on Israel’s front lines; and attended a special evening celebrating “70 years of Israeli heroes and hope.”

Members of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel visit IDF soldiers at the Kfir Brigade Training base on November 12.
Members of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel visit IDF soldiers at the Kfir Brigade Training base on November 12.

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

“The State of Israel, established only 70 years ago, has succeeded against all odds, not only to survive, but also to flourish and attain extraordinary capabilities. On this National Leadership Mission, FIDF supporters from across the United States witnessed this miracle called Israel and the profound impact it has on the rest of the world,” said Klifi-Amir. “They got a first-hand understanding of the challenges facing Israel and the IDF by meeting with the young men and women whose sole responsibility is to protect Israel and Jews worldwide. The IDF – one of the strongest armies in the world – carries out its mission with the highest moral and ethics thanks to the unbreakable spirit of its soldiers and their deep commitment to Israel and its people.”

The FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel in front of the Fitness Center donated by the FIDF Long Island Chapter, at the Michve Alon Education and Youth Corps base, on November 14.
The FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel in front of the Fitness Center donated by the FIDF Long Island Chapter, at the Michve Alon Education and Youth Corps base, on November 14.

“For one incredible week, we brought American FIDF supporters to Israel to visit the IDF’s devoted soldiers and tell them, in one united voice, how much we appreciate their bravery and dedication,” said Rabbi Weintraub. “We offered a unique glimpse into soldiers’ daily lives, visiting them on their bases across Israel and hearing their personal stories.”