The featured guest was Lior Raz, co-writer and lead actor in the Israeli TV series “Fauda” and a former IDF special forces soldier. Raz, whose show streams on Netflix, mingled with FIDF supporters before his presentation.
Raz described his humble upbringing in a Sephardic area where he became fluent in Arabic, often used in “Fauda,” which is televised in 192 countries. It is the biggest TV deal in Israel’s history.
A self-described adrenaline addict, Raz said fauda is Arabic for “chaos.”
He spoke about a girlfriend who was stabbed to death and another friend who was killed by terrorists. He said he had to neutralize two terrorists in in his first four months in the IDF.
That all contributed to his post-traumatic stress disorder. He connected his work with “Fauda” to his recovery from PTSD, as he is talking about these issues for the first time in 20 years.
During the FIDF program, Seth Baron, the executive director of the FIDF Southeast Region, emphasized the importance of fulfilling promises to the IDF. “Our work at FIDF is centered around the soldiers,” he said. “Note that Atlanta now has approximately 30 lone soldiers serving in the IDF.”
He pointed out several IDF soldiers in attendance who are stationed at Fort Benning or Lockheed Martin. Baron also noted recent heroic work the IDF performed in response to disasters in areas such as Mexico, and a video showed the IDF helping Syrian refugees, including a young girl who thanked an army doctor for saving her life.
One IDF soldier who spoke was Maj. Ran Tinichigiu, a commander in the Golani Brigade who fought inside Gaza during Operation Protective Edge and recently signed on for an additional eight years in the army.
“We are proud to be able to look after him and his fellow soldiers serving in the IDF,” Baron said.
Garry Sobel, an FIDF national board member and the chairman of the Southeast Region, said, “We’ve had another record year, raising over $1.3 million, and have raised over $1 million four years in a row. The Impact Scholarship Program has supported over 9,000 students, who have done their part with a graduation rate of 98 percent … and given back over 5 million hours of community service to their communities.”
Sobel, whom Baron joked is six years into a two-year term as the Southeast chairman, urged attendees to “make 2018 the year of plus-one — one more dollar and involve one more friend for our 70th anniversary.”
In the pre-function hour, FIDF supporter and lawyer Lowell Fine described his visit to the student supported by his Impact Scholarship donation. She is studying law in Israel.
“I am glad to be able to help her; and she was appreciative when we met,” Lowell said.
Marla and Michael Chaliff went on an FIDF tour of Israel last year and said, “It’s amazing how these young people serve for Jews all over. Aren’t we fortunate to be in America?”
Robert Levy said, “I am proud of the IDF. … They protect the rest of the world, not just Jews.”
Angel and Aaron Goldman said, “It’s phenomenal how the FIDF fills in the gaps that Israeli government is not able to cover. We are proud to support those who have served.”