Haim and Cheryl Saban pledge $15 million at the FIDF Western Region Gala.

photo credit Mark Von Holden

BEVERLY HILLS -- Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) recently hosted its annual Western Region Gala at the landmark Beverly Hilton Hotel. The “Making a Difference” Gala, which has become one of L.A.’s premier charitable events, raised $29 million and united 1,000 people from across the country to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  Top donations include $15 Million From Cheryl and Haim Saban.

In attendance were David Foster, Haim and Cheryl Saban among other guests at FIDF Western Region Gala in Support of Israeli Soldiers. The FIDF Western Region Gala was held in memory of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein (z”l), who dedicated his life to unifying Christians and Jews in support of the State of Israel, was the Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), and steadfastly supported FIDF and its mission.
Joining the event were prominent business, philanthropic, and political leaders and celebrated names in entertainment, fashion, sports, and technology, including longtime FIDF supporters Haim and Cheryl Saban, who had previously chaired the FIDF Western Region Gala for 13 years; David Foster; President and CEO of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and daughter of the late Rabbi Eckstein, Yael Eckstein; Managing Member of R.H. Book LLC and Chairman of Jet Support Services Inc. Robert Book and his wife, Amy; and Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin. Israeli-American actress and model Moran Atias emceed the gala.
FIDF’s leadership at the gala included FIDF National Vice President and Western Region Chairman Tony Rubin and his wife, Linda; FIDF National Board Member and Western Region President Ari Ryan and his wife, Rebecca; FIDF Western Region Founder Leo David; FIDF National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub and his wife, Ellen; FIDF National President Bobby Cohen and his wife, Lorraine; FIDF National Chairman Emeritus Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Brig. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Western Region Executive Director Jenna Griffin.

“Cheryl and I are honored to have served as FIDF Western Region Gala chairs for 13 incredible years and are proud to see the outpouring of support that this event continues to receive,” said Haim Saban. “We are gratified to see that the FIDF’s important mission resonates so powerfully in the LA community and are humbled to have gathered with FIDF again this year for a meaningful evening that memorialized our dear friend Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein (z”l).”

“My father was a dedicated and ardent supporter of Israel and its soldiers, and firmly believed in the vital mission of FIDF, caring for the men and women who protect Israel and the Jewish people,” said Yael Eckstein. “I am proud to be part of this big family – a family that celebrates our diversity and embraces our different backgrounds.”
A delegation of both American and Israeli soldiers and veterans attended the gala and addressed the crowd. One such hero, IDF Staff Sgt. (Res.) Amit Kadosh, was part of a special IDF operation to neutralize a senior Hamas terrorist. Upon completing his service, Amit received an academic scholarship through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which helped him study computer science and business administration at Tel Aviv University. During the event, Amit surprised his girlfriend of seven years, Talya, by proposing on stage.

Other IDF soldiers in attendance included Staff Sgt. (Res.) Izzy Ezagui, an American citizen who moved to Israel, became a decorated squad commander in the IDF, and returned to the battlefield after losing an arm in combat; 1st Lt. Jerusalem, an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier whose visual disability did not stop her from becoming a volunteer officer in the IDF Northern Command; 1st Lt. N., born and raised in a Druze family, who serves in a Paratroopers special unit, despite his parents’ opposition; Cpl. Eden, an IDF Musical Ensemble singer and winner of “The X Factor Israel” reality TV show; Staff Sgt. Y., a Lone Soldier- one who voluntarily enlisted in the IDF without having immediate family in Israel - originally from Pittsburg, who serves in an elite IDF unit; and others.
Top single donations announced at the event included $15 million from Cheryl and Haim Saban, $3 million announced by Yael Eckstein from the Fellowship, and $1 million from Tony and Linda Rubin. The event featured a special performance by David Foster and friends.

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 – those who enlist in the IDF without immediate family in Israel, crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.

The evening presented a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the state of Israel and its brave men and women in uniform.


LOS ANGELES -- Prestigious American campuses including UCLA, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, Wayne State University and Pitzer College are among those cited by the David Horowitz Freedom Center as the “Top Ten Colleges that Promote Jew Hatred and Incite Terrorism” in a report released today.

“From Campus to Congress: Allied with Terror” documents the malignant spread of Jew hatred in our nation’s academic institutions. Unlike past reports which have focused mainly on schools already notorious for Jew hatred, this year’s report presents an image of the problem at five campuses which are already well known for their tendency to harbor Jew haters and five additional institutions, not yet recognized for their promotion of Jew hatred, but which should be.  

“Jew hatred is no longer solely the purview of academic outliers, those institutions known for radical activism and absurdist teachings,” the report explains. “The Jew hatred promoted by Hamas through its front group Students for Justice in Palestine has now trickled down to infect less typically activist campuses in the heartland—including the University of Minnesota which hosted this year’s National Students for Justice in Palestine conference.”

In alphabetical order by institution, the ten campuses are: Columbia University, DePaul University, Pitzer College, San Francisco State University, University of California-Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of South Florida, and Wayne State University.

The report also chronicles the role that two freshman U.S. Congresswomen have played in promoting Jew hatred and bringing anti-Semitism into the mainstream. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Students Association in her collegiate days at North Dakota State University, and has frequently professed anti-Semitic views and voiced her support for BDS.  Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is a graduate of Wayne State University, one of the schools profiled in the report. Tlaib has also promoted the BDS movement, co-sponsoring legislation with Omar and other democrats supporting BDS and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany.

The release of the report was timed to coincide with the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference which took place last weekend at the University of Minnesota, one of the campuses named in the report.

“For nearly two decades, SJP has promoted Hamas lies and propaganda in order to establish a beachhead of support for anti-Israel terrorists on American campuses, resulting in a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents and the harassment of Jewish students,” said David Horowitz, founder of the Freedom Center. “

“American universities like the University of California and the University of Minnesota allow these terrorist allies to use their authority and prestige to lend this genocidal offensive an aura of respectability,” Horowitz continued. “Our campaign intends to expose SJP and other supporters of BDS as fronts for Hamas and to press universities to cease their funding and support of these organizations.”
Visit for more information on SJP’s links to Hamas and to read our new report on the Top Ten Colleges that Promote Jew Hatred and Incite Terrorism.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, founded in 1988, is a not-for-profit organization located in Sherman Oaks, California. The Center’s mission is to defend free societies like America and Israel, which are under attack by totalitarians both religious and secular, domestic and foreign.



LOS ANGELES –Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) announced two bills to benefit the local VA campus: the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act of 2019 and the Ensuring Access to West Los Angeles VA Easement Funds Act of 2019.  These measures amend the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016 to ensure that the West Los Angeles VA campus is able to recoup much-needed resources in service of our nation’s veterans. Specifically, the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act of 2019 ensures that any funds secured from settlements resulting from fraud or misuse of VA leases can be used in the renovation and upkeep of campus facilities. The Ensuring Access to West Los Angeles VA Easement Funds Act of 2019 guarantees that the money earned from land easements on campus can be used for West L.A. VA renovations and maintenance.

“As a veteran, I’m pleased to introduce these pieces of legislation to ensure that our veterans at the West L.A. VA campus can benefit from the money that is rightfully theirs,” Rep. Ted Lieu said. “Before we started implementing the Master Plan to revitalize the West L.A. VA, former service members at this facility were suffering from inadequate resources and care. While we’ve made incredible progress in improving VA conditions, these two new bills will ensure the campus has additional resources to best serve our nation’s heroes.”

In 2016, President Obama signed into law the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, which was co-authored by Congressman Lieu. The law ensures that the VA enters into leases that benefit veterans and their families first and foremost. It authorized the Department to implement a Master Plan for the West L.A. VA campus with enhanced-use leases. Before this new law, parts of the campus were being rented to various third parties that sometimes provided little to no value for veterans and their families. For example, the FBI investigated and convicted officials and contractors who defrauded the West L.A. VA out of more than $13 million in relation to a parking lot scheme on the campus. The West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act of 2019 will make sure any money recouped from that fraud will go back to serving veterans at the West L.A. campus.

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