FIDF Appreciation Event with Elite Special Forces
Members of the Atlanta-based community presented a strong show of solidarity for Israel’s soldiers.
After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).
On Dec. 5, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces presented its annual donor appreciation event at City Springs. Around 150 supporters were riveted by personal stories of heroism that included videos of never-before-seen footage into their security activities required to keep Israel safe.
The theme was tied to Duvdevan: Israel’s Elite Special Forces, translated to “cherry of top,” as in the acme, or pinnacle, of those selected to serve and make it through the program.
FIDF chair of Georgia and the Southeast States, Karen Shulman, welcomed the crowd by sharing that the extra support provided by the FIDF reaches 110,000 soldiers. She spoke about her family’s upcoming trip to Israel and her personal pledge of support for a new program dedicated to treat post-traumatic stress disorder to those soldiers in need. Karen also introduced Alex Gandler, Israel’s Deputy Consul General to the Southeast, and Rabbi Steven Weil, FIDF National CEO.
Seth Baron, VP of FIDF Eastern Region, welcomed the new faces, loyal supporters, those who came from abroad, and those currently serving in the IDF. He was amazed with the contrast that “10 years ago, our region raised $300,000 compared to $3.3 million in 2022 with 3.5 weeks left.” He compared the FIDF’s commitment to working 24/7 to that of soldiers who are on guard 24/7.
Garry Sobel, FIDF national board member and chairman emeritus FIDF Georgia and Southeast States, shared his recent five-day October trip to Israel where he lived as an IDF soldier on a base near Mikmash, along with 18- and 19-year-old soldiers. He showed a video of his face in camouflage and being held on the shoulders of the soldiers after completing the rugged program, doing pushups and eating the same food alongside the soldiers.
He said, “Of all my trips, this one was the most life changing…away from the comforts of home, walking on their turf. I was amazed by their maturity and commitment, even the small gestures like a ‘thumbs up’ and culminating in an emotional ceremony at the Kotel.”
After the program, the speakers took multiple questions from the audience.
One answer explained the PTSD program which, unlike the U.S. statistics with suicide outcomes, their afflicted soldiers might act out with violence and the inability to form relationships. The preferred method of treatment in Israel is to provide team support for building trust and a circle of empowerment, then tailor-made individual therapy with a professional.
When asked whom he considered “Enemy No. 1,” another answered, “Iran.”
Audience laughter came when someone asked if the series, “Fauda,” was accurately representational. Their response was, “Season one, yes. The third season was bulls—!”
In the pre-program hour, the AJT spoke with two IDF soldiers in uniform. Major Shai, an electrical engineer who is stationed near Warner Robbins Air Force Base with his wife and children who attend public schools. He serves as Israel’s emissary F15 IAF Liaison to the U.S. in this region with special attention to aircraft.
He said, “With the time difference, you can find me on the phone in the middle of the night coordinating and preventing mishaps and providing overall support.” He commented on the U.S.’s in-depth experience in flight hours and Israel’s combat readiness, or not, as life threatening to the nation. He has been here five months and hopes to finish out another two to three years.
Deputy Company Comm. Lt. Ari spoke of his unique missions in Jenin where Palestinian terrorism has resurfaced. Also trained as a medic, Lt. Ari has another six months to decide whether to go to college or pursue a military or other type of career.
Atlanta attorney Wayne Lazarus recalled that his FIDF mission to Israel was, “Fabulous. Quite an experience,” which he highly recommends.
The FIDF always closes with, “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.”
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Friends of the Israel Defense Forces
- city springs
- Karen Shulman
- Alex Gandler
- Rabbi Steven Weil
- Seth Baron
- garry sobel
- Major Shai
- Warner Robbins Air Force Base
- F15 IAF Liaison
- Deputy Company Comm. Lt. Ari
- Palestinian terrorism
- Wayne Lazarus