A total of 145 million shekels (over 38 million dollars) was raised during the event organized by Haim Saban in Los Angeles for the soldiers of the IDF.

Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler Photo credit: AJR photography/ Channel 2 News

Yesterday (Friday), the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) organization held its annual gala dedicated to the IDF soldiers in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Approximately 1,200 guests participated in the event hosted by Haim and Cheryl Saban, raising over 38 million dollars for IDF soldiers.

Israeli model and actress Moran Atias was the event’s master of ceremonies. The event was attended by many celebrities including Robert De Niro, Larry King, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gerald Butler. 17 soldiers from a variety of IDF units including lone soldiers born and raised in the US who decided to move to Israel and serve in the IDF were at the gala.

Hollywood stars joined hands for the IDF

Hollywood stars joined hands for the IDF Photo credit: AJR photography/ Channel 2 News

“The commitment of Israel’s soldiers to protecting their country and her citizens is truly inspiring and remarkable,” said founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who donated 6 million dollars.

“We are gratified to see that the FIDF’s important mission – to provide well-being and educational programs for the heroic men and women of the IDF – continues to resonate with the Los Angeles community,” added Haim Saban, who donated 5 million dollars.

Raised over 38 million dollars

Raised over 38 million dollars Photo credit: AJR photography/ Channel 2 News

During the event, Staff Sergeant (res.) Alisson Bressand, who served as a lone soldier, gave a moving speech. Alisson was a combat officer in the Israeli Border Police and prevented a terrorist attack last year. At the end of her speech, her mother got on stage as a surprise after being flown in from France. The two had not seen each other for almost a year.