Celebrity-Studded Gala for Magen David Adom Raises $14 Million


Tova Abady

Adele and Beny Alagem hosted the Los Angeles Region of American Friends of Magen David Adom’s 2016 Gala at the Beverly Hilton. Dubbed the “Red Star Ball,” the annual event was in support of the life saving work of MDA’s emergency service that is responsible for Israel’s population of more than eight million and which houses 97% of Israel’s blood supply. Money raised will go towards a new state-of-the-art underground blood center.

Rob Eshman and AFMDA Humanitarian of the Year honoree David Suissa. Photos: Michelle Mivzari

This premier fundraiser was attended by celebrities, philanthropists, and communal leaders including Yarin Ashkenazi (IDF), David Mazouz (“Gotham”), Emmy Award winner Camryn Manheim, actress Tori Spelling, actor Miles Brown (“Blackish”), Suzanne Cryer (“Silcon Valley”), Jimmy Jackson (NBA star), Ivan Bitton (celebrity stylist), and Maurice Kanbar (SKYY Vodka). Mr. Kanbar donated five million dollars.

The newly appointed Consul General to Israel, Sam Grundwerg, said, “This evening is so significant, celebrating the critical work that Magen David Adom does in the State of Israel, saving lives, leading the way, and it’s very important that we take out a night and really salute the heroes that do all the work out in the field, the paramedics, [who] don’t get enough credit. We really salute them and say thank you.”

The esteemed MDA medics from Israel present included Director-General Eli Bin, Reem Elbassel, Dudi Gur, Inbal Rauchweger, Yair Schussheim, Uri Shacham, Israel Weingartern, and Zaki Yahav. In a moving ceremony, Dina Leeds, Regional President of AFMDA and co-chair, presented an honorary paramedics uniform to 16 year old Dvir Litman, who heroically called “101” to bring MDA to the scene of a terrorist attack. His father and brother were murdered in the attack.

Another young hero was Dina’s son Robert Leeds, who selflessly donated ambulances to Israel. Robert strummed “Hativka” on his guitar while Gilad Mezamer – who was saved in part thanks to Leeds’s generosity – accompanied him on his own guitar by simulcast, with the Kotel as a backdrop.

Dina Leeds, alongside her husband Fred, asked everyone to light a candle and be thankful that they are here fulfilling their life’s purpose, a promise she made to her father, of blessed memory. She stated, “We have so much to do,” and she introduced Yigal Kutai, one of the leaders of the Kiryat Arba/Hevron community. Dina continued speaking about the Jews of Hevron who are “defending our holy land defending our history and our heritage.”

The three honorees for 2016 were David Suissa, Stanley Black, and Zach Zalben.