Diverse, Friends of the I.D.F. convincingly compensate for Stevie Wonder's bow-out

Friends of IDF event spurned by Stevie Wonder raises more than $14 million 

by Marcy Oster, JTA, Dec 9, 2012

The singer had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces fundraiser that singer Stevie Wonder pulled out of raised more than $14 million.

More than 1,400 people attended the event in Los Angeles to aid Israeli soldiers. Entertainment mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl chaired the gala. Saban is a national board member of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Actor Jason Alexander emceed the event, which featured a performance by David Foster and Friends. Surprise musical performances were presented by "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard and 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan.
Attendees appearing in JooTube'e unique, 20-clip event coverage include Israeli-American philanthropists Haim Saban & Adam and Gila Milstein; actors Jason Alexander, Dolph Lundgren, Noa Tishby, and Mike Burstyn; Miriam Peretz, mother of 2 sons who gave their lives for country; soul singer Chaka Khan and Christian singer Robert Stearns; U.S. Navy Chaplain Irving Ellson and Wounded Warrior U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Edward Schrank; L.A. Jewish notables- Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman, IDB Banker Yoav Peled, activists Gary Ratner and Allyson Rowen Taylor.

Playlist controls are Skip Forward (3rd bottom-left button) and Playlist Menu (icon 3rd from bottom right).

Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.
The Grammy-winning singer's representatives cited a recommendation from the United Nations to withdraw his participation given his involvement with the UN. Wonder is a Messenger of Peace of the world body. He had performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel's 50th anniversary.
Funds raised at the event will go toward Friends of the IDF’s well-being and educational programs for Israeli soldiers and the Negev Wellbeing and Educational Centers.

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