L.A. gala brings in $20 million for Friends of IDF

(JTA) — The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Region brought in $20 million in contributions at its gala in Los Angeles, the organization said.

Simon Cowell, celebrity judge of the “X Factor” and formerly “American Idol,” and Grammy Award-winning musician Lionel Richie were among those on hand for Wednesday’s event. Cowell contributed $150,000, the group said in a statement.

Richie performed for a crowd that included the CEOs of several prominent technology companies.

Several individual multimillion-dollar donations, including $4.5 million  from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews led by founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, brought contributions to the $20 million mark.

The organization aims to provide well-being and educational programs for soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces, including the Lone Soldier program, which supports Israeli soldiers who are immigrants or otherwise separated from their families.

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