$33 Million: Hollywood Heavyweights Raise Megabucks as Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces

Larry Ellison donated $9 million dollars before Ricky Martin sang “Livin La Vida Loca” for Beverly Hilton billionaires Thursday night

Haim Saban and Steve Tisch at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of FIDF)

An army of entertainment and tech luminaries banded together on Thursday night to air-drop a staggering amount of money on a non-profit that benefits soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Steve Tisch ($2 million pitched in), Susan and Michael Dell ($1.8 million for scholarships given in the room), Haim and Cheryl Saban ($3.6 million), Vegas moguls Sheldon and Miriam Adelson ($5.2 million) and Guess Jeans founding brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano ($5.2 million, donated on the spot) were amongst the leadership donors.

Larry Ellison joined in and did what Larry Ellison does.

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On Thursday night, Ellison donated $9 million to the cause.

The FIDF, Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, helps with education, summer camps, orphans, wounded soldiers, and general support for veterans of Israel’s military. It does not give direct militaristic foreign aid. Their slogan: “Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.”

One looking after them is one that has looked after a lot of big tech winners in the past five years: Yuri Milner. Milner is the the tech investor whale who got in early and successfully on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Groupon, and now Alibaba.

He was not present on Thursday night, but does have his own massive gala up in Silicon Valley for The Breakthrough Prize on Sunday night. (Jack Ma and Mark Zuckerberg on the board with Milner.)

“This event is always one of the most inspiring and emotional evenings of the year,” Barbra Streisand said in a statement to TheWrap. “The soldiers of the IDF deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for all that they sacrifice to protect Israel, the only democratic state in the region.”

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Others on the roster included Ben Silverman, Marvel super producer Avi Arad (a veteran of the IDF), Maker CEO Ynon Kriez, Avi Lerner, and a dash of starpower in the form of Pamela Anderson and Chris Tucker.

Ricky Martin worked through his energetic early catalogue, including “The Cup of Life,” “Livin La Vida Loca”, and “Lola Lola.” Earlier this year, he performed on Israel’s version of “The Voice”.

It’s been three years since the FIDF has done a public facing event this grand, with smaller, closed-door, fundraising efforts taking place in the interim.

This massive outpouring comes after a fifty day war in Gaza this summer. The toll included 67 Israeli soldiers deaths and a reported 2,200 Palestinians, according to the New York Times.

“After spending my own time defending Israel, I know that now more than ever the soldiers of the IDF need our support,” Avi Arad said in a statement to TheWrap.