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  • For Americans aiding Israeli soldiers, rules of engagement vary

    4 days ago

    When the season’s first snowstorm descended on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights a few weeks ago, it didn’t take long before M, a career sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces, received a phone call from Leon Blankrot.

    “What do you need to keep warm?” asked Blankrot, executive...

  • Why I hope the Shangri-La Hotel discrimination verdict is overturned

    By Rob Eshman

    September 10, 2014 | 3:16 pm

    The Shangri-La charade has to stop.

    Two years ago, a jury found Tehmina Adaya, the owner of the chic Santa Monica Shangri-La hotel to have discriminated against a group of Jews by shutting down a party at the hotel organized by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and...

  • Shangri-La lawyers ready for another day in court

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    September 3, 2014 | 2:28 pm

    Four years after a group of Jewish partygoers accused a hotel owner of anti-Semitic discrimination — and two years after a jury found in favor of the group — the case is about to return to court. 

    Did Hotel Shangri-La owner Tehmina Adaya, on July 11, 2010, instruct her staff to...

  • Moving and shaking

    By Ryan Torok

    September 3, 2014 | 2:02 pm

    More than 1,000 people attended the fourth annual Shabbat at the Ford with Craig Taubman and the Pico Union Project on Aug. 29. 

    Rabbis, cantors, pastors, guitarists, back-up singers, a choir and even a sign-language interpreter participated. The event kicked off at 6 p.m. with...

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  • L.A.’s Iranian Jews stand with Israel during war

    By Karmel Melamed

    August 13, 2014 | 9:45 am

    During the war between Israel and Hamas, local Iranian Jews have taken a two-pronged approach to supporting the Jewish state: raising substantial dollars on behalf of humanitarian causes in Israel and speaking out on Farsi-language media outlets based in Southern California. 

    “We...

  • Protesters arrested after ‘die-in’ at Friends of IDF office [VIDEO]

    July 22, 2014 | 4:56 pm

    Nine protesters against Israel’s Gaza operation were arrested inside the Manhattan offices of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

    Some two dozen protesters gathered for the “die-in” at FIDF’s New York office on Tuesday. The incident was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace...

  • Moving and shaking

    By Ryan Torok

    January 9, 2014 | 12:04 pm

    Etta Ohel celebrated its 20th anniversary at its annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel that honored a number of local contributors to the organization that provides services to people with special needs.

    Michael Baruch, founder of Baruch Enterprises, received the Visionary...

  • Young friends of the IDF

    October 30, 2013 | 1:01 pm

    As the black SUVs pulled up to the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy on West Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills, a star-struck reception began. More than 500 students waved miniature Israeli flags and sang “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.” Twelve Israeli soldiers, in their olive and...

  • Moving and Shaking

    By Ryan Torok

    April 24, 2013 | 2:45 pm

    Israel Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel Photo by Orly Halevy

    Leaders from Los Angeles’ Jewish and Israel communities came together to celebrate Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and victims of terror, on April 14 at Stephen S. Wise Temple...

  • Pink Floyd’s Waters takes some credit for Wonder’s decision to skip FIDF event

    March 21, 2013 | 1:55 pm

    Pink Floyd's Roger Waters took partial credit for Stevie Wonder's decision to pull out of performing at a Friends of Israel Defense Forces event.

    In an interview with Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian media outlet, Floyd said he was one of several dignitaries who wrote to...

  • $14 million raised without Stevie Wonder at FIDF gala

    December 12, 2012 | 2:38 pm

    Despite a stormy week of protest and provocation following music icon Stevie Wonder’s last-minute pullout from the Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region dinner, the Dec. 6 gala went off without a hitch, raising a record $14 million for Israeli soldiers. 

    ...
  • Balancing Israel of War and Israel of Peace

    By David Suissa

    December 12, 2012 | 10:32 am

    There’s been a lot of talk in our community lately about this notion of “balance,” particularly around the question of whether Israel supporters should balance their support for Israel with empathy for the enemy.

    This is an important subject — balancing the love for our own...

  • FIDF show goes on without Stevie Wonder [VIDEO]

    By Danielle Berrin

    December 7, 2012 | 1:27 pm

    Spirits were barely diminished at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) annual dinner Thursday night, a week after headliner Stevie Wonder’s provocative and public pullout. More than 1,000 Israel supporters turned out at the Hyatt Regency in Century City for the annual...

  • Acting Offline, African-Americans Pressured Stevie Wonder to Drop FIDF Gig

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    December 6, 2012 | 10:15 pm

    When Stevie Wonder backed out of a planned appearance at a Dec. 6 gala to benefit the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the reasons given for his decision were varied.

    Many news articles focused on the thousands of signatures on a letter and online petitions urging...

  • Near silence after Stevie Wonder cancels FIDF performance

    By Danielle Berrin

    December 4, 2012 | 3:30 pm

    An unusual silence has blanketed the circumstances leading up to music icon Stevie Wonder’s canceled performance at the Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala on Dec. 6 at the Hyatt Regency in Century City. 

    The 25-time Grammy winner was set to appear for an...

  • Friends of IDF expresses ‘regret’ for Wonder quitting fundraiser gig

    November 29, 2012 | 4:22 pm

    The head of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces expressed his regret that Grammy-winning singer Stevie Wonder has pulled out of performing at a fundraiser for the group.

    Wonder was scheduled to headline the Friends of the IDF annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. The event...

  • Stevie Wonder cancels performance at Saban-Chaired FIDF Gala for IDF Soldiers

    By JewishJournal.com

    November 29, 2012 | 11:52 am

    Legendary pop musician Stevie Wonder has cancelled his performance scheduled for the Dec. 6 FIDF Gala in Los Angeles saluting IDF Soldiers. The event is sponsored by philanthropists Haim and Cheryl Saban.

    The 25-time Grammy winner was to appear for an expected 1,200 FIDF...

  • The story behind the Hotel Shangri-La anti-Semitism trial

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    August 22, 2012 | 3:20 pm

    It was late in the afternoon on Aug. 15, a Wednesday, when the jury delivered its verdict to a Santa Monica courtroom. The discrimination case that had been brought against the oceanfront boutique Hotel Shangri-La by a group of young Jews had been going on for nearly four weeks, and...

  • Additional $440,000 in punitive damages imposed on Hotel Shangri-La

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    August 16, 2012 | 10:56 pm

    One day after it found that the Hotel Shangri-La and its part-owner had discriminated against a group of young Jews in 2010, a jury in California Superior Court ordered the hotel and owner to pay approximately $440,000 in additional punitive damages to the plaintiffs.

    That brings...

  • Third full day of deliberations in FIDF v. Hotel Shangri-La trial ends without a verdict

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    August 13, 2012 | 11:07 pm

    In the civil case brought by a group of young Jewish members of a pro-Israel group against the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its owner, before the trial even began, the court was the setting for a three-day process of selecting a jury that a member of the courtroom staff...

  • Closing arguments in Hotel Shangri-La discrimination trial

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    August 8, 2012 | 7:15 pm

    Attorneys presented their closing arguments on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the discrimination trial brought by members of a pro-Israel group against the owner of a boutique hotel in Santa Monica.

    After a trial that had lasted nearly 10 days, the jurors listened as lawyers for the two...

  • Shangri-La hotel owner testifies in FIDF discrimination trial

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    August 2, 2012 | 3:51 pm

    Until she testified in court on Aug. 1, Tehmina Adaya, who is part owner, president and CEO of the Hotel Shangri-La, was a silent but constant presence in the discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her hotel.

    During the first few days of witness testimony, while most of the...

  • In heated Hotel Shangri-La discrimination trial, first FIDF witness keeps his cool [UPDATED]

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    July 30, 2012 | 1:08 am

    Is the word “Jew” offensive? What about “f***ing Jew?”

    That rather provocative question was posed on Friday by Philip Black, one of the attorneys defending the Muslim owner of the Hotel Shangri-La, a boutique hotel in Santa Monica. Black’s client, Tehmina Adaya, has been...

  • Israeli, Jewish Clothing Designers Highlight FIDF Fashion Show [VIDEO]

    By Ryan Torok

    May 17, 2011 | 5:51 pm

    Flanked by two large flags — one Israeli and the other American — fashion models strutted down a long, white catwalk, showing off versatile fashions by local Israeli and Jewish designers during a fashion show at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on May 12, held in celebration...

  • Friends of the IDF (FIDF) gala to honor 30 soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces

    By Tom Tugend

    December 10, 2008 | 1:17 am

    ALTTEXT

    When the local Friends of the Israel Defense Forces join for a gala dinner on Dec. 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the guests of honor will not be a few major donors or civic dignitaries but 30 Israeli soldiers.

    "We never honor an individual, only a group of soldiers," said Leo...

  • Leo David: From Israel soldier to soldiers’ friend

    By Tom Tugend

    December 10, 2008 | 1:11 am

    Leo David likes to think big.

    Shortly after he founded the Western regional branch of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in 1981, he started planning for the initial dinner gala and scouted for some appropriate entertainment.

    He flew to Las Vegas, twisted the arm of Sammy Davis...

  • Meet the IDF: Shimon Siso, 23, Golani Infantry Brigade

    December 10, 2008 | 1:06 am

    Born in Nahariya, a few kilometers from Israel's northern border with Lebanon, Shimon Siso dreamed of one day being a soldier in the Golani infantry brigade.

    "Everybody in school wanted to be in that unit because it's the best. I wasn't the only one," he said, taking his weapon off...

  • Meet the IDF: Ido Niv, 21, Maglan Elite Combat Unit

    December 10, 2008 | 1:02 am

    Ido Niv grew up in a typical Israeli home. A second-generation sabra, he comes from a long tradition of military service.

    His grandfather was a Holocaust survivor in Poland who made his way to Israel after World War II and later served in the Golan Heights. Niv's father served in a...

  • Meet the IDF: Zina Milstein, 19,  Infantry Unit 500, Infantry Instructor

    December 10, 2008 | 12:53 am

    A self-described "girly-girl" who loves dressing up, wearing jewelry and painting her nails, Zina Milstein surprised her family and friends when she insisted on going into an important Israel Defense Forces unit.

    "A lot of people said that I couldn't do it because the girls in these...

  • IDF support ensures bright future for Jews worldwide

    December 10, 2008 | 12:43 am

    The future of world Jewry and that of the State of Israel are inextricably bound. Today, this notion no longer enjoys the luxury of residing in the intellectual domains of the ideological or the philosophical. It reflects a sobering realism to which Jews worldwide ought to awaken...
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