Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised a record $53.8 million at its annual Western Region Gala on Thursday night held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The figure represents the most money raised at any single FIDF event in the organization’s history. The sold-out gala, which has become one of Los Angeles’ premier charitable events, united some 1,200 supporters from across the country to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
For the 11th year, FIDF National Board Member and major supporter Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, chaired the star-studded event where guests included Gerard Butler, David Foster Melissa Rivers, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Year after year, the support from the Los Angeles community for this remarkable event continues to amaze me, and this year’s gala is no exception,” Saban told the gathered crowd. “Cheryl and I are grateful for the outpouring of support for this great cause and are deeply honored by this year’s record-breaking donations. Chairing this event for the past 11 years has been a great privilege, and we look forward to furthering FIDF’s noble mission of providing well-being and educational programs for the IDF’s brave heroes – and seeing our community welcome Israel’s men and women in uniform with open arms.”
The top donation announced at the event – and the largest single gift in FIDF’s history – was $16.6 million from Oracle co-Founder, executive chairman and chief technology Officer Larry Ellison. His donation will support the construction of well-being facilities on a new training campus for the IDF’s coed infantry units.