Some 400 members of the Las Vegas community, including Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sheriff Joe Lombardo, gathered last Thursday for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Las Vegas Gala to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
This year’s FIDF Las Vegas gala raised over $800,000 – double the amount raised at any previous FIDF Las Vegas gala – with help from a matching gift by the Adelsons, making it the FIDF’s most successful event in Nevada.
Speaking at the dinner were former Israeli soldiers, including wounded IDF veteran and Paralympic medalist Noam Gershony. Six years before winning the gold medal for wheelchair tennis at the 2012 London Paralympics, Gershony’s Israeli Air Force Apache helicopter crashed in Lebanon, killing his co-pilot and severely wounding the future champion.
Also speaking was 1st Lt. (Res.) Enbal Grintzvaig, whose twin brother, Staff Sgt. Avraham Grintzvaig Z’’L, was shot and killed in Bet Hanoun, near Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
Chairing the gala were Dana and Michael Werner, who is also a FIDF national board member, and co-chairing the event were Arlene and Jerome Blut and Sandra and Stanley Mallin. Presiding as the evening’s master of ceremonies was David Chesnoff.
Other distinguished guests included Las Vegas parents of Lone Soldiers – young men and women who immigrate to Israel to serve in the IDF; Nevada Assemblyman Stephen H. Silberkraus; Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz; El-Al’s former head of security Isaac Yeffet; Jewish Federation of Las Vegas President and CEO Todd Polikoff; University of Nevada Vice President for Advancement Dr. William Bolt; Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival Director Joshua Abbey; FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient Sgt. (Res.) Shai; FIDF National President Peter Weintraub; FIDF National Chairman Emeritus Nily Falic; and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.
The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers.