Night of Solidarity: Hundreds gather in Greenwich to show support for the IDF
The annual Friends of Israel Defense Forces dinner Sunday night took on added significance this year.
The dinner was held at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, with hundreds of guests gathering to show support for IDF soldiers.
It has been nearly a month since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, igniting a war that has killed more than 1,400 Israelis and thousands in Gaza.
“While we all have different beliefs, we all unite on one thing, and that is Israel and the need and right to exist,” said Heather Dermont, FIDF dinner co-chair.
Dermont also shared how much the war has impacted the local community.
“It shows how strong we are as a people, and it's something beautiful to see us all come together,” Dermont added.
FIDF has sent more than $30 million to Israeli soldiers since the war began and aimed to continue fundraising with a major push Sunday night. These dinners usually include words from an IDF soldier, but all have been deployed overseas.
FIDF is also known for sending “lone soldiers” to Israel to help the IDF with resources -- 15 are from Connecticut. FIDF executive director Anat Chavkin said the organization works hand in hand with Israel’s Minister of Defense to show support.
“They update us on the needs, the dynamic needs, the changing needs,” Chavkin said.
Debbie Ziering, of Greenwich, expressed how important it is for local communities to stand in solidarity with the IDF.
“Those young men and young women are sacrificing their lives, and we need to be here... we need to be able to support them,” Ziering said. “It’s not necessarily combative needs, but emotional, psychological needs.”
The tragedy overseas can be felt across local communities. A Stamford mother was among the speakers Sunday night. Her two sons are fighting on the front lines, as well as a Greenwich aunt who lost her nephew in the Oct. 7 attack.
“What a wonderful human being he was. He was only 27 years old,” Ziering said. “He believed in the country, and he believed in having a country for Jewish people. That was why he was in the army.”
Organizers said the war does not appear to be ending soon, but they will do whatever is necessary to aid those overseas.
“Our hearts might be broken, but our spirit is not,” Chavkin said. “The nation of Israel is alive and kicking.”