In continuing efforts to build and strengthen support for the Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), a first of-its-kind dinner will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Supporters in Arizona are looking forward to the inaugural seated dinner on Feb. 20, themed “A Night of Heroes.”
Israeli actor Yaakov Zada Daniel, star of the popular Netflix series “Fauda,” is headlining the event, which will support educational and well-being programs for the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces.
“With our passionate and dedicated FIDF leadership in Arizona, the time has come to strengthen the bond between our community and the soldiers of Israel,” said FIDF San Diego, Orange County and Arizona Executive Director Oz Laniado. “The love and support that Arizonians have toward the FIDF cause and the soldiers is truly heartwarming.”
Actor Daniel portrays one of the members of an elite IDF anti-terror unit in “Fauda,” a Netfllix hit. Daniel was also a recipient of the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants four-year academic scholarships to combat and combat-support soldiers from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds.
Arizona FIDF supporters Melanie and Hilton Efune, and Tracy and Victoria Conrad, are co-chairing the event.
“Hilton and I decided on the spur of the moment in the 2014 Protective Edge conflict to travel to Israel to show our support and solidarity for the Israeli people,” recalled Melanie Efune, about how they first became involved in FIDF. “We were introduced to the FIDF organization by Avi Dichter and met the head of the Impact Scholarship Fund, which is part of the FIDF. The Fund provides college scholarships to soldiers who are not able to afford college and who have shown great promise in their military and personal lives.”
She added that the couple finds inspiration in the daily commitment and sacrifice of Israel’s soldiers and are honored to partner in the vital work of FIDF. “As a people, our history has shown us time and again that ensuring the success and strength of the Jewish state’s military men and women is also crucial to guaranteeing the safety and security of Jewish communities all over the world, including here in the United States.”
Also attending the first-ever Arizona FIDF dinner will be IDF soldiers, including Staff Sgt. Katie, from a small town in Missouri, who is an IDF Lone Soldier — a soldier who enlists in the IDF without any immediate family in Israel.
About 200 guests are expected to attend. Among the several other distinguished names on the guest list are the Israel Air Force Attaché to the United States Brig. Gen. Amir Keren; FIDF National Board Member and San Diego Chairman Alan Katz; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF San Diego, Orange County and Arizona Executive Director Oz Laniado; and FIDF San Diego Associate Director Elana Michael.
“This is a significant turning point in our community’s efforts to strengthen and build the FIDF family in Arizona,” points out FIDF’s Laniado. “We will stand together with the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend and protect the Jewish state, and all of the Jewish people around the world.” JN
For more details on the inaugural FIDF Arizona dinner at Congregation Beth Tefillah, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Shayna Cohen is a writer and reporter based in Phoenix and Los Angeles.