Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid
Addressed FIDF Supporters

Major Bar, Capt. Ofir Arbel, Navy representative in the MOD NY Mission, Wendy Moskowitz, Maya Moskowitz, Cpl. Anna, Julia Sellman, Rafi Moskowitz, Major Bar, Anat Chavkin, FIDF Director of Westchester/Connecticut Photo Credit: Michel Priest, Courtesy of FIDF.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid joined more than 500 Friends of the IDF (FIDF) supporters from across the country to salute Israel’s brave soldiers at the FIDF National New York Gala on Tuesday, September 20. This was Prime Minister Lapid’s first visit to the U.S. since he took office in July. The event was held in tribute to FIDF Chairman, Peter Weintraub of Scarsdale and featured active-duty IDF soldiers and several additional special guests. All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting FIDF’s empowering educational, financial, well-being, and cultural initiatives for the young men and women of the IDF.


“The fact that I am standing here today, as Prime Minister of the State of Israel, a free country, with a strong army with friends like you, did not happen on its own,” said Lapid. “At every moment, Israel must be strong, free and secure, with a powerful army that can defend its citizens. On behalf of the State of Israel, and on behalf of the soldiers of the IDF, I salute you, my friends.” 


“We are grateful to Prime Minister Lapid for his exemplary leadership, and we are most honored to have him join us this evening at our annual FIDF National New York Gala in support of Israel’s soldiers,” said FIDF CEO Steve Weil. “There is no entity of individuals more critical to the existence of Israel and the safety of Jews worldwide than the soldiers of the IDF, and we are humbled to stand in strength and solidarity with Prime Minster Lapid in our common goal to support them.”


Two soldiers were featured during the gala for incredible acts of courage during their service. The first was Sergeant First Class M., who serves in the IDF Special Forces Unit, Oketz, the Canine Unit that specializes in training dogs for designated tasks. Sgt. First Class M. neutralizes threats against Israel with the help of his K9 companion, Mido, and spoke of one incident involving the Islamic Jihad where Mido captured a terrorist and in doing so, thwarted a potential deadly attack. “So many people owe their lives to Mido without even knowing it,” he said.


The second soldier was Major Bar, who joined the Israeli Air Force in the footsteps of his late father, a crew chief in the Israeli Air Force whose helicopter was shot down during the Second Lebanon War. Maj. Bar plays a critical role in ensuring all command-and-control systems are accessible to soldiers from air, land and sea.


Additional VIP event attendees included Michael Herzog, Israeli Ambassador the United States; Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Israeli Representative to the United Nations; Ambassador Asaf Zamir, Israeli Counsel General; Ambassador Ronen Hofman, Israeli Ambassador to Canada; Major General (Res.) Nadav Padan, FIDF National Director; Yehiel Gozal, FIDF Executive Director of Israel Operations; Fred Gluckman, FIDF President; and Galit Brichta, FIDF VP of the Northeast Region.


Peter Weintraub, FIDF National Board Chairman since 2018, was honored for his service and the immeasurable contributions he made to FIDF during his tenure. An active FIDF supporter and board member for decades, Weintraub will complete his term as Chairman in October. FIDF President Fred Gluckman will assume the role of Chairman.


 Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in-need, support for Lone Soldiers throughout their service, crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, recuperation weeks for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.