LOS ANGELES (AP) — A fundraiser in aid of the Israeli army brought in $31 million in one night on Thursday, as some 1,200 people turned out for an annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala in California.

The sold-out Western Region Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills was attended by guests from the United States and Israel. Guests included actors Jason Alexander, Antonio Banderas, Liev Schreiber, Jason Segel and Mark Wahlberg, as well as the KISS frontman, Israeli-born Gene Simmons.

“For the past nine years I have watched this gala grow into the preeminent charity event it is today, and I am truly humbled by the funds raised yesterday, which are a testament to the importance of the FIDF organization and its mission. The overwhelming support from the Los Angeles community continues to amaze me,” said entertainment mogul Haim Saban, a national board member of FIDF.

The evening focused on the IDF’s lone soldiers, who leave their families and native countries behind to serve in the army, and included testimonies from the mothers of fallen soldiers. It also featured a presentation from a US veteran on the impact of Israeli medical technology on the lives of Americans.

IDF Staff Sgt. (Res.) Elle and actor Antonio Banderas (photo credit: Noam Chem)

IDF Staff Sgt. (Res.) Elle and actor Antonio Banderas (photo credit: Noam Chem)

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors, and provides educational, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for IDF soldiers.

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