Hollywood stars attended this special event to raise money for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at their annual Gala dinner in New York.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
The theme of this year’s event, hosted by Haim and Cheryl Saban was “Making a Difference: 70 Years of Heroes and Hope,” designed around front line heroes and the “heroes behind the heroes” – paramedics in the IDF.
Shortly before the official ceremonies commenced, a voiceover announced: “We have gathered tonight to honor those who give everything to defend the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Before we begin our program we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that today our Jewish family is in mourning. Please join us in a moment of silence as we honor the 11 congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh who were senselessly murdered this past Shabbat.”
There wasn’t a sound as 1,200 people, heads bowed, stood in silence in the packed ballroom. And while everyone who came was there to support FIDF and Israel’s soldiers – as well as to see Pharrell Williams perform – it came as no surprise at the end of the evening as $60 million had been pledged – the largest amount ever for the charitable organization at a single event.
The largest donations came from the Sabans and Sheldon and Miri Adelson, who pledged $10 million each. Cheryl Saban said, “I wasn’t born into a Jewish family, I was absorbed and loved into a Jewish family.” Another voiceover announced that this year is Israel’s “70th anniversary of hope, heroism, democracy and freedom.”