Hollywood A-list actors, politicians and tech moguls came together Thursday to raise a record-breaking $33.5 million for the IDF at a Los Angeles gala fundraiser.
Barbra Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pamela Anderson were among the 1,200 guests who attended the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event at which the unprecedented sum was raised.
“It is incredibly touching to see how advocacy for the FIDF has grown in Los Angeles,” said Haim Saban, the American-Israeli philanthropist who chaired the gala.
“The caliber of Gala attendees from Hollywood, tech, business and other walks of life — especially a large contingent of people without ties to Israel or Judaism — ultimately speaks to their admiration for the heroic men and women of the IDF and the incredible work that the FIDF does to support them,” Saban said.
Notable donations made at the event included $10 million from Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, $5 million from philanthropists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, $5.2 million from Maurice and Paul Marciano of Guess Jeans, $3.6 million from Cheryl and Haim Saban and $2 million from New York Giants president Steve Tisch.
First time attendees Michael and Susan Dell donated $1.8 million to fund the educational scholarship programs for soldiers and veterans.
“In my mind, there is no greater honor than supporting some of the bravest people in the world, and I thank FIDF for providing us with this opportunity year-after-year to celebrate and support these soldiers,” said Larry Ellison. “These men and women come together with indefatigable purpose, to defend Israel and strive to co-exist in peace.”
One of the evening’s highlights was an address by Givati Brigade Lieutenant Eitan, who recounted his efforts to save the life of Lt. Hadar Goldin, a combat officer kidnapped and killed by Hamas during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces is a non-profit organization which provides educational, cultural and recreational activities for IDF soldiers, and supports the families of fallen soldiers and injured veterans.