“Without a strong IDF, there is no Israel and there is no organization better equipped to meet the social, educational and wellbeing needs of the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide than FIDF.”
At a time when antisemitism is rampant and support for Israel and the IDF is challenged, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), an organization dedicated to the wellbeing of the soldiers of Israel, brought together members of the Michigan community in a strong show of solidarity for the brave young men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Nearly 700 local FIDF supporters gathered on Sept. 21 for the Michigan Chapter’s Annual Dinner to honor Miriam and Fred Ferber and Israel’s courageous soldiers.
The event began with a powerful video presentation featuring intense moments of IDF soldiers in action followed by welcome remarks from two of the Ferber’s grandsons, Jonathan Kaufman and Sam Ferber, who shared this message, “While some may think of courage as an aspiration, Israel’s soldiers have no choice but to be courageous. For them, courage is mandatory.”
Emceeing the event was 13-time Emmy award winner Robin Schwartz.
The FIDF Michigan Chapter’s 25th anniversary was highlighted in a video shown that evening. Schwartz shared a special message about Ann Newman, z”l, one of the founding members who served in Israel’s paramilitary underground organization and remained a lifelong Zionist and champion of many Jewish causes.
Guests also heard from Major Bar, who joined the Israeli Air Force to follow 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.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert shared meaningful video tributes in celebration of the honorees.
Benny Gantz said, “Miriam and Fred represent the history of our people, survivors of the Holocaust and immigrants in a new country who rebuilt their lives. Thank you for your contribution to the security and prosperity of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Mickey Shapiro presented the award to the Ferbers along with Michigan FIDF Chairman Alon Kaufman and President Gary Shiffman.
Both Miriam and Fred shared that during the Holocaust they had no home or country to go to, but when Israel was created in 1948, they finally had a home: Israel.
“If there would have been an IDF in 1939, the horror of what they went through would never have been the same,” Fred said.
They thanked the IDF soldiers who defend Israel with so much courage, jeopardizing their lives every day.
Lastly, Shari Kaufman, vice president of the Michigan Chapter, spoke to the crowd about the night’s honorees. “I’m so proud of my parents, Miriam and Fred Ferber, for their extraordinary leadership and passionate commitment to ensuring a better future for the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces, the State of Israel and the entire Jewish community.”
Kaufman added, “Without a strong IDF, there is no Israel and there is no organization better equipped to meet the social, educational and wellbeing needs of the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide than FIDF.”