PHOTO: FIDF sweepstakes winner Rita Shmulevsky (sixth from left) and her husband Mark (fourth from left) flew from Portland, to attend the Jan. 24 FIDF Greater Miami Solidarity Gala. Pictured with the couple are FIDF Florida Executive Director Dina Ben-Ari (second from left), FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir (center), Israeli Navy Capt. Amir Gutman (right), and members of the Israeli Air Force musical ensemble. Photo by Carlos Chattah.
Some 800 people gathered in Miami Jan. 24, for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Greater Miami Solidarity Gala, which raised $2.4 million to support well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
The gala, which honored Israel’s soldiers and celebrated 70 years of the IDF, was chaired by Oren and Rene Kattan and featured a keynote address by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
FIDF sweepstakes winner Rita Shmulevsky and her husband Mark flew from Portland, OR, to attend the gala. Their son Arthur had served as a Lone Soldier – one who volunteers in the IDF without any immediate family in Israel.
Also speaking at the event were uniformed IDF soldiers and officers, including 2nd Lt. Noam, a woman combat paramedic who treated wounded Syrian civil war victims; 1st Lt. Don, who commands Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile interceptions; Israeli Navy Capt. “Y.,” the grandson of Holocaust survivors and a submarine fire control officer; and Israeli Air Force (IAF) Maj. “D.,” a squadron leader and one of the first pilots to test the IAF’s new F-35 fighter jet.
“As they did 70 years ago, the brave men and women of the IDF still put their lives on the line every day to protect Israel and Jews around the world,” said FIDF Florida Executive Director Dina Ben-Ari. “This evening gave our supporters the chance to hear from steadfast supporter of Israel Mike Huckabee – and they were able to meet and personally thank some of the brave soldiers who risk everything to defend the Jewish homeland.”
The gala also honored Tibor Feldmar, FIDF Young Leadership Miami President Emeritus Evan Glassman, Miriam Jacobi Josielewski, and Malcia Rothstein for their commitment to Israel’s troops.
Distinguished guests also included FIDF National Chairman Emeritus Nily Falic; FIDF Miami President Oscar Feldenkreis; and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.