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exclusive interview

'The fate of the 21st century is at stake,' says CEO of Friends of the IDF in America

In interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Rabbi Steven Weil speaks about FIDF's vital role in supporting Israeli soldiers

Israeli soldiers from the 8717 Battalion of the Givati Brigade operating in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

While the battles in Israel's war on Hamas rage on with the dawn of 2024, soldiers in the field have a civilian mobilization watching their backs from 5,700 miles away in America.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces is a non-political, non-military organization founded 43 years ago by Holocaust survivors to provide for the wellbeing of IDF soldiers, veterans and family members.During November and December, FIDF filled two 757 jetliners with stockpiles of gloves, thermal pants and shirts, blankets and medical kits and whisked them directly to the men and women serving to protect and defend Israel.

Rabbi Steven Weil, who serves as CEO of FIDF, declared that as the sole designated IDF partner in the United States, the group’s mission in support of soldiers is clear: “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.”

In the wake of the bloody Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, FIDF decided that while all non-profit charities have overhead expenses during this unprecedented mobilization, 100% of all donations received will meet IDF soldiers’ emergency needs. Shipments so far have included over $10 million of winter clothing. The two 757s they’ve already dispatched contained 200,136 warm hats, 47,556 neck gaiters, 184,093 gloves, 327,179 thermal pants, 320,926 thermal tops, 30,823 fleece blankets, 500,000 t-shirts, 479,994 long socks, 483,296 men's underwear, 50,010 women's underwear and 10,000 sleeping bags.

Rabbi Weil said, under normal circumstances, FIDF would simply wire funds to the IDF to allow them to purchase clothing and medical kits they need. However, due to what he calls the “Axis of Evil”– China, Russia and Iran – the tens of thousands of IDF soldiers and reservists on the front lines are unable to tap normal supply chains.

The People’s Republic of China, for example, has now boycotted the IDF – not the State of Israel, but the Israel Defense Forces. So basic clothing that they used to procure from China has been blocked. In response, FIDF worked through U.S. companies to meet those basic needs. (Thermal clothing is especially critical because from the Golan Heights and fighting in Gaza to standoffs along Lebanon’s border, it can be very hot during the day but freezing at night.)

In an exclusive interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Weil said that mounting the equivalent of a military operation in support of IDF soldiers has been a gargantuan undertaking involving all the organization’s regional offices throughout America. However difficult it's been, he feels the U.S. – and the entire world – stands at a tipping point in the face of barbarism from Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.

“After the atrocities – and, you know, I’ve seen the video footage from the GoCam cameras from the Hamas terrorists – when you see this you just can’t even imagine a human being could do this,” he said. “This awoke and shook the world. Anyone with any decency understood that if Israel falls…next is Sunni Islam. Because the real target is the Saudi Arabian oil fields and Mecca and Medina, the holy sites to Islam. And then, ultimately to quote the Supreme Ayatollah, their ultimate goal is the Great Satan. It’s not just America. It’s Christian Europe and Western civilization. And what stands in their way is Israel.”

If not for brave men and women in the IDF, Weil added, the world would have a Shia, hegemonic Islamic caliphate from the Arabian gulf to the Mediterranean. “This is not a little squabble. This is ultimately going to shape the 21st century. And there are people – Jews and Christians – whose focus wasn’t Israel. That wasn’t what the focus on their life was. But in the barbarity of this, the sickness, the way these guys called home to their mothers bragging about how many women they’d raped and beheaded. And their mothers were so proud of them. You listen to those calls and recordings of them, you watch those videos, and you understand, if we don’t respond to this, the fate of the 21st century is at stake…the fate of humanity is at stake. Because they’re not stopping with Israel. Israel is what’s standing in their way.”

Fortunately, Weil observed: “There was a mobilization of decent Christians and Jews across America. You don’t see that on the news because that’s not what the news focuses on. You don’t see that in academia. I’ll use a term that (Russian revolutionary) Vladimir Lenin always used to say when they overthrew the czar; they called these people ‘useful idiots.’ The liberal press, and academia – the students out there, the people out there on the streets protesting – they’re the useful idiots that the terrorist world is using.”

The FIDF chief executive added: “Any decent Christian or Jewish American who has a thoughtful relationship with God understands what’s at stake. Is this going to be a century of justice, morality, and ethics…is this going to be a century of human decency? Or is it going to be a century where facts, where truth doesn’t matter? Where barbarism and where oppression rule?”

As 2024 dawns, Rabbi Weil is optimistic. When this war is finished, he promised, the work of Friends of IDF will go on. Estimates are that about 15% of IDF soldiers will suffer acute PTSD from these Hamas-generated battles so the organization’s goal is $60 million to fund PTSD therapy centers all over Israel. As he stated, previously addressing the human needs of men and women of the IDF: “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.”

Tom is a contributing editor for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He has long served as vice president of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network and SRN News, the #1 Christian radio news network in the United States.

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