Oct. 8, Brooklyn – Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Maccabi USA, Maccabi World Union, and Maccabi Tel-Aviv hosted a VIP reception Monday before the Brooklyn Nets took on the Israeli and European hoops champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Nets’ first pre-season game. The VIP reception paid special tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in the recent IDF Operation Protective Edge and, at the same time, to the Guest of Honor, NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, 86, the only Jewish player to be named to the 50 all-time NBA best.
Joining this unique event were Maccabi Tel-Aviv legends Tal Brody, Mickey Berkowitz, and Doron Jamchy, as well as Danny Schayes, Dolph’s son, who played in the NBA for 18 seasons. FIDF arranged for 12 IDF soldiers wounded during the Operation in Gaza to take part in the event, along with 2012 Paralympics gold-medal winner in wheelchair tennis, Noam Gershoni, a former IAF helicopter pilot who was injured in the Second Lebanon War.
Newly appointed FIDF National Executive Director Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir paid tribute to the wounded Israeli soldiers and basketball legends, and the roles they all played to support Israel.
“Our two groups of visitors seem rather different at first glance. One faces its enemy on the court, the other on the field. One shoots hoops, the other guns. But they are more alike than they seem. They each put on a uniform that represents their country and their people, and in those uniforms, they represent a nation.”
During the VIP reception, the wounded Israeli soldiers wore special yellow and blue Maccabi Tel-Aviv T-shirts. All proceeds from the pre-game event will go towards benefitting wellbeing programs for wounded IDF soldiers, Lone Soldiers, bereaved families, and children from the South of Israel.