The FIDF was established in 1981 and provides well being for IDF soldiers, veterans, and their family members. The group’s website declares that they are “the single organization authorized to represent the IDF across the United States and Panama.”
Among other programs, the FIDF allows individuals to “Adopt a Battalion” and provide it with support:
“For those on the frontlines, there are a few premier battalions that carry with them a rich heritage of dangerous combat and incredible heroism. Through FIDF’s Adopt a Battalion program, supporters have the opportunity to directly support these premier battalions. Adopt a Battalion offers soldiers support for all of their immediate needs, providing qualifying IDF combat battalions the opportunity to unwind from their difficult training and responsibilities. They are able to enjoy activities such as holiday ceremonies and events, recreational activities, and special days of fun and leisure with their fellow soldiers.“
Last September, the FIDF raised over $37 million at its annual gala dinner in New York City. “The heroes of the IDF serve and protect the State of Israel, its people and Jews around the world,” Rabbi Peter Weintraub told the event’s audience, “During this very special evening, our community was able to come together to pay tribute and show the brave IDF soldiers our profound appreciation and thanks for their sacrifices. We stand together with these young Jewish heroes – our heroes – and declare: While their job is to look after Israel, ours is to look after them.”
“Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces Gala in New York City raises $37,000,000 to support Israeli soldiers & IT’S A TAX EXEMPT US CHARITY?,” tweeted Arab American Institute co-founder James Zogby in response to the event, “On what planet is this right? Or does it make sense that it’s a tax write-off to contribute to the army that occupies Palestinian lands?”
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) also received a loan between $2 and $5 million. The pro-settler organization has played a direct role in the dispossession of Palestinian land since its creation in 1901. The group’s tax-exempt IRS status has been repeatedly questioned and challenged as a result of their actions. “The IRS has an obligation to revoke the JNF’s status because of its involvement in displacing Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev Desert and elsewhere, and because of its support for illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” said the National Lawyers Guild’s Andrew Dalack after the group challenged JNF’s tax status in 2016, “How can the IRS certify with a straight face that the JNF is organized for a charitable purpose when it engages in conduct that violates international law and well-established U.S. foreign policy?“
Editor’s Note: Mondoweiss was the recipient of a Paycheck Protection Program loan through our fiscal sponsoring organization the Center for Economic Research and Social Change.