Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Jewish Business News


Over $20 Million Raised At Saban-Chaired FIDF Gala

More than 1, 000 attended the FIDF Western Region Gala, which featured musician Lionel Richie, David Foster and Friends, and a $150, 000 donation from TV star Simon Cowell.

Please help us out :
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at
Thank you.

Photo credit: Michelle Mivzari         

 (L-R) Rabbi Yechiel and Joelle Eckstein, Haim and Cheryl Saban, Dr. Rebecka and Dr. Arie Belldegrun / Michelle Mivzari

Over $20 million was raised at the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala yesterday, Tuesday, October 22, 2013. More than 1, 000 FIDF supporters and dignitaries from the United States and Israel gathered to express their support for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). FIDF National Board Member and major supporter,  Haim Saban, and his wife,  Cheryl, served as chairs of the star-studded FIDF Gala that took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

Photo credit: Michelle Mivzari

   Simon Cowell and Haim Saban  /Michelle Mivzari

Notable donations made at the event included $4.5 million from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, $3.5 million from Vicki and Ron Simms of Simms Commercial Development, $2.3 million from Cheryl and Haim Saban, $2 million from Younes Nazarian,  Co-Founder of Qualcomm, and his wife Soraya, and $1 million from Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. Simon Cowell of American Idol and X-Factor also attended the event and announced a donation of $150, 000 to benefit the IDF soldiers. The funds raised at the Gala will go towards wellbeing and educational programs for IDF soldiers.

Photo credit: Orly Halevy

Cheryl Saban with Ben Silverman and Jennifer Cuoco / Orly Halevy

The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a program, emceed by FIDF National and Western Region President,  Julian Josephson, and featured remarkable performances by David Foster and Friends. Attendees were enthralled by the surprise performance of five-time Grammy Award winner,  Lionel RichieAmong the many participants at the Gala were Avi Arad,  CEO of Marvel Studios and Founder of Arad Productions Inc., and his wife Joyce,  Avi Lerner,  Co-Chairman of NuImage, brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano of Guess Jeans,  Ben Silverman, Founder and CEO of Electus, and his wife Jennifer Cuoco,  Casey Wasserman of Wasserman Media Group, and Eli Tene, Co-Founder, Co-Managing Director and Principal of Peak Corporate Network and a Co-Founder and former Co-Chairman of the Israeli American Council, and his wife Dafna.

The FIDF national and local leadership present at the event included Nily Falic, FIDF National Chairman,  Julian Josephson, FIDF National and Western Region President, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, FIDF National Director and CEO,  Leo David, FIDF Western Region Founder and Chairman, and his wife Ruth.

Photo credit: Orly Halevy

Leo David, FIDF Western Region Founder and Chairman, and Sheriff Lee Baca / Orly Halevy

A very touching moment at the event occurred when Lone Soldiers, brothers Tamir Lerner, a combat soldier in the elite IDF unit Golani, and Adee Lerner, an IDF paratrooper, surprised their parents,  Ettie and Shmulik Lerner, on stage. This emotional family reunion, which brought the crowd to tears, was made possible by the FIDF Lone Soldiers Program, which brought the brothers from Israel to Los Angeles so they could surprise their parents. The FIDF Lone Soldiers Program supports soldiers who have decided to leave their countries of origin and serve in the IDF. The program provides financial and social support, retreats, scholarships, and flights to visit their families abroad.

Photo credit: Orly Halevy

 Vicki Simms with Nily Falic, FIDF National Chairman /Michelle Mivzari

“The Jewish and Israeli community in LA showed its support and love yesterday for the soldiers of Israel, ” said Saban. “The event connects this warm community with IDF soldiers, and it is our opportunity to say thank you to the soldiers who defend the State of Israel.”


About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing and supporting educational, social, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men and women of the IDF. Today, FIDF has more than 120, 000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama.



You May Also Like

World News

In the 15th Nov 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:   ·         A new Israeli treatment brings hope to relapsed leukemia...


The Movie The Professional is what made Natalie Portman a Lolita.


After two decades without a rating system in Israel, at the end of 2012 an international tender for hotel rating was published.  Invited to place bids...

VC, Investments

You may not become a millionaire, but there is a lot to learn from George Soros.