More than 450 members of the New Jersey Jewish community are expected at the New Jersey chapter’s annual tribute dinner for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. The dinner, set for December 10 at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, supports soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, including New Jersey natives who have become “lone soldiers,” people who immigrate to Israel to serve in the IDF, despite having no immediate family in the country.
The evening, which has become one of the local Jewish community’s biggest events, will feature a speech by Avi Issacharoff, an acclaimed journalist and the co-creator of “Fauda,” a hit Israeli Netflix series. “Fauda” focuses on the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from opposing perspectives. Viewers follow the story of a commander in an undercover IDF unit trying to find Hamas terrorist Abu-Ahmed, who has murdered 143 Israelis.
Lior Raz, whose experiences as an undercover counterterrorism operative in the IDF inspired the hit show, which he co-created with Issacharoff and in which he stars, said, “‘Fauda’ is a window for people abroad to see the conflict in Israel.” Netflix has said it believes “Fauda” will rival the success of the hit Showtime series “Homeland.”
The dinner, chaired by FIDF New Jersey region board members Annette Stern and Ellen Sokoloff, also will feature Sgt. Ziv. She is combat paramedic who treats victims of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Former IDF lone soldiers from New Jersey will be there as well, including Jesse Talmud of East Brunswick, whose parents, Shelley and Steve Talmud, are FIDF NJ committee members, and Sgt. Avioz, whose mother, Ronit, who is from Teaneck, also is an FIDF NJ committee member.
FIDF’s New Jersey chapter — often referred to as the “Lone Soldier chapter” — was co-founded by Sammy Bar-Or, an FIDF national board member, who moved to Israel from Iran when he was 13 and was a lone soldier in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade.
“This evening will give the New Jersey community a chance to meet and personally thank the brave soldiers who risk everything to defend Israel — and Jews worldwide,” Howard Gases, New Jersey’s FIDF director, said. “They’ll hear from one of the world’s leading Mideast analysts, and from soldiers who directly benefit from FIDF’s incredible well-being programs.”
Distinguished guests will include U.S. Maj. Gen. Michael Edelstein, Israeli Defense and Armed Forces Attaché; Arthur Stark, FIDF national chairman; and Maj. Gen. (res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, FIDF national director and CEO.
The evening begins with a 5 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner; the program begins at 6:30. Funds raised support FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers. For information go to fidf.org/njgala.