SOURCE: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

November 17, 2009 08:00 ET

2,500 Scholarships Granted to Former IDF Combat Soldiers During the Friends of the IDF 8th Annual IMPACT! Ceremony

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Sponsors 250 Israeli Students

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - November 17, 2009) - Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) hosted its 8th annual IMPACT! Ceremony on Wednesday, November 11th. During the ceremony, 2,500 former IDF combat soldiers were granted scholarships for the academic year 2009-2010. Over 2,000 guests from Israel and the U.S. attended the event, which took place in Tel Aviv's Heikhal Hatarbut.

The ceremony was held under the auspices of Israel's Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak; the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi; IDF General Staff; FIDF National Chairman, Arthur Stark; FIDF National President, Nily Falic; FIDF National Director, Major General (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; President and Founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; Mr. Haim Saban; Mr. LeRoy and Mrs. Shoshana Schecter; IMPACT! students and graduates; and supporters from the business and philanthropic communities in Israel and the U.S.

The most significant contribution of $2 million was made by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), an organization dedicated to promoting understanding between Jews and Christians and funding humanitarian programs that support the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world. Established in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the vision of IFCJ is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect and cooperation. Sponsoring 250 IMPACT! students, IFCJ was represented at the ceremony by guest of honor, Rabbi Eckstein. "This is a tremendous program, and one that IFCJ's donors are proud to support," he said. "They know that IFCJ's gift to fund the IMPACT! Program is really more than just a one-time donation -- it's an investment in Israel's future, one that will help ensure a stronger, more secure, and more successful Jewish state."

One of the evening's most remarkable moments took place towards the end of the ceremony, when LeRoy and Shoshana Schecter, devoted and passionate FIDF supporters from Miami, went on stage and were joined by the 120 IMPACT! students they sponsor.

Established in 2002, the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program is the largest scholarship program in Israel, granting full four-year scholarships to IDF combat soldiers in-need who, upon completing their military service, seek higher education but cannot afford the expense. This year, IMPACT! scholarships, in the amount of $4,000 per year, were granted to 2,500 students in Israel.


Friends of the IDF (FIDF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that initiates and helps support social, educational, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the soldiers of Israel and their families.

For additional information about the IMPACT! Program and the IFCJ-FIDF collaboration, please contact Miriam Segal or visit our website

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