Nearly 100 Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) supporters from Palm Beach, and those wintering in Florida from Ohio and Michigan, gathered on Monday, Feb. 4, at the BallenIsles Clubhouse in Palm Beach Gardens, where three active-duty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and Brig. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir discussed their experiences serving in Israel’s military.

Hosted by FIDF supporters Laney and Harold Becker, the exclusive event provided FIDF supporters with a first-hand look into the unique challenges facing Israel. Among the soldiers was Sgt. Sarina, a Boca Raton native currently serving as a Lone Soldier — one who enlists in the IDF without immediate family in Israel — in a search and rescue unit stationed in the West Bank.

Joining Sgt. Sarina were Staff Sgt. M., a Lone Soldier in a combat engineering unit who recently participated in Operation Northern Shield along Israel’s border with Lebanon, and Cpt. N., a pilot who, in 2013, helped shoot down an Iranian unmanned aerial vessel that penetrated Israel from Lebanon.

“This event provided a unique opportunity for FIDF supporters to learn—first hand—about the very real threats to Israel’s security and the amazing soldiers who protect and preserve Israel’s existence,” said event co-chair, Harold Becker. “These soldiers need and deserve our support, and this evening helps shine a light on the educational and well-being programs FIDF initiates and maintains for these brave men and women who serve.”

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, a trailblazer and pioneer for women in the military, discussed her 30-year career with the IDF and having been instrumental in establishing a framework for the continued equality and involvement of women in the IDF. In her last position, Gila served as the Women's Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff. From March 7-15, she will lead the FIDF Women’s Mission to Israel.

Also attending the event were FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Palm Beach/Broward Executive Director Susan Levin-Abir; FIDF Ohio Director Lane Schlessel; FIDF Michigan Director Paula Lebowitz; and FIDF Palm Beach/Broward Region Development Director Brian Sarran.