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FIDF honors 5 Towns attorney Ben Brafman

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More than 400 supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces honored Lawrence resident Benjamin Brafman, a nationally-acclaimed defense attorney, at group’s 2024 Five Towns and Greater South Shore Evening of Solidarity, at The Sands in Atlantic Beach on May 29.

Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Hannah, a Lone Soldier from France who moved to Israel to serve in the IDF when she was 17, has been serving as a combat paramedic in Gaza, the only woman in her unit.

“I spent three months sleeping in fields along the Gaza border and taking care of wounded soldiers,” Hannah said. “When I entered Gaza, I felt like my life was in danger more than ever. I knew that I was in enemy territory, and I must do the best that I can to protect my team.”

After spending a month in Gaza, Hannah was deployed to Nablus, in the West Bank. For the past six months she has been arresting terrorists in their West Bank homes.

“Every day, I use the life-saving medical equipment FIDF provides to treat injuries and save the lives of our soldiers, Hannah said. “This includes plasma, oxygen, blood warmers and monitors. My team even received a new, fully stocked, FIDF combat ambulance, our moving emergency room, that sped our soldiers to helicopters or to hospitals while we treated them inside.”

“Their job is to look after Israel,” FIDF Chief Executive Rabbi Steve Weil said of the IDF. “Ours is to look after them.”

The keynote speaker was Major (Res.) Yadin from Sayeret Matkal, one of the IDF’s most elite special forces units, who received an urgent call at 6:30 am on Oct. 7th summoning him to immediately deploy with his team. Within an hour, Yadin and his fellow commandos were on a daring rescue mission to save hostages at kibbutzim in the South.

“The 7th of October was the most horrific day for Jews since the Holocaust. And in the darkest time, what we Jews did, is unite, put our differences aside and unite as one strong nation and stand together,” said Yadin. “Our mission is not finished, we will keep fighting to bring back the hostages, and we will keep fighting this terror and evil that is spreading around the world.”

“The message of tonight is our soldiers’ needs are more pressing than ever, and we hope that everyone will come together to really support them,” said Stephanie Feit, the organization’s associate director for Long Island. “At FIDF, we are fortunate to be in contact with the IDF and Ministry of Defense every day to find out exactly what the soldiers need.”

The FIDF is in constant contact with the IDF and Israel’s Ministry of Defense, and regularly packages and sends supplies that the IDF needs — everything from food and clothing to medical kits for soldiers’ backpacks, to fully stocked ambulances.

For the past 11 years, Brafman has served as the master of ceremonies for FIDF. When asked to be the honoree this year, he thought, “If not now, then when?” he said.

“If I were 25, I’d be in the Israeli Army, but I’m not, so there’s a couple of things I can do to help,” Brafman said. “This is one of the most appropriate honors I’ve accepted in my life. Israel is a part of my heart.”

This year’s emcee was Izzy Ezagui, an IDF decorated squad commander, who lost an arm in combat and returned to the battlefield.

Brafman was presented with a soldier statue by Rabbi Weil and Ronny Ben-Josef, a national board member of the organization and its Long Island chair.