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WSJ’s Bret Stephens Addresses Friends of the IDF Event Honoring Scholarship Sponsors

New York — Supporters of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gathered at the Time

Warner Building on Thursday, Oct. 27, to meet Israeli soldiers who have benefited from FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) combat veterans of modest means. The event honored all supporters of the program.

The evening featured a briefing by Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor, and the former Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, Bret Stephens.

“I think the reason you’re here tonight is that you sense, not only as Jews, but also as Americans, that our security and our prosperity is intimately connected to what’s going on way out there — and that is the front line in the boundary between civilization and barbarism,” said Stephens, who has interviewed scores of world leaders, including every Israeli prime minister since Shimon Peres took office.

“I think it’s worth recalling that we’re not just here for the IDF; we’re here because of the IDF. Our lives as Jews in America — as free citizens secure here in New York — are made possible in large part thanks to these men and women in uniform.”

The evening, generously hosted by Karen and Dr. Joseph Levine of Manhattan, gave IDF veterans and the supporters who sponsor their scholarships through FIDF the chance to meet.

Since the inception of FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program in 2002, FIDF has supported 10,498 four-year academic scholarships, each of which costs a total of $16,000, to Israeli combat veterans from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds pursuing higher education at more than 90 institutions in Israel. During the 2015-16 academic year, FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program granted 3,584 scholarships to deserving individuals and is one of FIDF’s flagship and most successful programs.

“FIDF’s Tri-State Region has supported IMPACT! Scholarships for 473 students during the 2015-16 academic year,” said FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta. “Thanks to our supporters, Israeli combat veterans who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to pursue higher education are attending university and can continue contributing to Israel’s future even after their military service.”

The power of the FIDF IMPACT! Program resonates far beyond the individual, as each scholarship recipient is required to give back to his or her community by completing 130 volunteer hours during each year of study, making IMPACT! the premier scholarship program providing community service in Israel.

Other distinguished guests at the event included FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark and his wife, Sylvia; FIDF National Board Member Harry Gross; and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF and the State of Israel. For more information, please visit: www.fidf.org.

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