Arnold schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Haim Saban at FIDF Gala.
(photo credit: PETER HALMAGYI)
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) kicked off a fundraiser in Hollywood Thursday evening to honor Israeli soldiers and the Israeli defense establishment.
Haim Saban, the man behind the event, announced that the event raised a record $33.5 million for the IDF.
“Year after year we are powerfully moved by their example,” Saban said of the soldiers in the crowd. “Their example reminds us that what matters most is not what you have, but what you give.”
A-listers such as Barbra Streisand, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were among the more than 1,200 guests that showed up at the iconic Beverly Hilton Hotel for the annual event.
The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a program emceed by bestselling author and political analyst Monica Crowley, and featured performances by Ricky Martin, David Foster and Friends and The Canadian Tenors.
Pamela Anderson, who also attended, showed her love for the Holy Land, saying, “Israel is magical. It is one of my favorite places to be. A mixture of old and new, arts, music, freedom. The people of Israel are interesting, aware and generous. You can see they are very sensitive to the world’s problems. Israel is a place everyone must experience.”
“This event is always one of the most inspiring and emotional evenings of the year,” said Streisand.
“The soldiers of the IDF deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for all that they sacrifice to protect Israel, the only democratic state in the region.”
Israeli celebrities were also represented, including actor Moran Atias, musician Idan Reichel and actor Noa Tishbi.
Notable donations made at the event included $10m. from Larry Ellison, co-founder and chairman of Oracle; $5m. from top Republican fundraisers Sheldon and Miriam Adelson; $5.2m. from brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano of Guess Jeans and $3.6m. from Saban and wife Cheryl.
One of the most touching moments of the event was when a Givati Brigade lieutenant, Eitan, addressed the crowd, describing how he attempted to save the life of Lt.
Hadar Goldin, a soldier killed during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.