Some 500 leaders from the Long Island community plan to gather on Thursday, September 14, for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Long Island annual IDF Appreciation Evening to salute the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces.

Speaking at the dinner will be IDF commandos who fought heroically during the infamous 2014 battle in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood, IDF combat veterans of modest means whose college educations are sponsored by FIDF supporters through the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program. Last year, the Long Island community sponsored more than 100 IMPACT! scholarships.

The evening will celebrate diversity in the IDF, which acts as a melting pot for Israeli society and includes men and women of many ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. Ninety-five percent of jobs in the Israeli military are open to women, who serve as pilots, infantry soldiers, artillery combat soldiers, electronic-warfare specialists, and anti-aircraft and naval officers–and as many as 11 percent of combat soldiers drafted every year are women. The IDF boasts representation from all of Israel’s religions, including Jews, Christians, and Druze, and foreign-born men and women from 80 countries around the world serve as “lone soldiers”–service members with no immediate family in Israel. Despite being exempt from mandatory service, those with mental or physical disabilities may volunteer to serve in the IDF as well.

“This event gives our community the chance to meet and celebrate the brave soldiers who defend Israel and Jews worldwide,” said FIDF National Board Member and Long Island Chairman Ronny Ben-Josef. “They’ll hear firsthand from soldiers who directly benefit from FIDF’s programs and see the tremendous impact that their support has on the lives of these young men and women.”

Chairing the dinner will be Edeed Ben-Josef. The dinner will also welcome FIDF’s new Long Island director, Felicia Solomon, and honor longtime supporters Eyal and Judith Shachi for their steadfast dedication to Israel’s troops. Solomon replaces Liron Kreitman, who recently relocated to Austin, Texas, and will be staying on with FIDF. Presiding as the evening’s master of ceremonies will be Michelle Ahdoot.

Other distinguished guests in attendance will be FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.

The FIDF Long Island annual IDF Appreciation Evening will take place at Fresh Meadow Country Club, 255 Lakeville Rd. in Lake Success, NY, on Thursday, September 14, at 6:00 p.m. The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF wellbeing and educational programs for IDF soldiers. For more information or to support FIDF, please visit:

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(c)(3( not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 20 chapters throughout the United States and Panama. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers, and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the State of Israel. For more information, please visit



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