The US-based Friends of the IDF organisation has managed in one night to raise $20 million dollars, equal to about 70 million Israeli shekels, during its yearly gala in New York City to support Israel's occupation forces in Palestine. The money will be allocated on programmes that are intended to ensure the wellbeing of Israel's young soldiers.
This year, the organisation succeeded in exceeding previous fundraising records. The event was held at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Avenue on Wednesday evening in the presence of about 1,400 attendees from the United States, Israel and other countries.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz, who attended the event in person accompanied by a number of soldiers as well former Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, thanked the donors and organisers "for choosing to stand by our side and open your hearts to our soldiers."
Gantz told the attendees that: "I strongly value the Friends of the IDF organisation and its members and I appreciate their commitment to supporting the army," while strongly condemning the efforts made by the "terrorists" to try to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, according to Israel Today newspaper in its Thursday morning edition.
The newspaper pointed out that a presentation shown during the gala night about the occupation's army was dominated by a variety of activities for the Israeli Air Force.
The US government gives annually more than $3 billion in military aid to Israel, in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance given through defence appropriations bills.