Hard-nosed American Idol and X Factor judge Simon Cowell was among 1,200 honored guests at this year's Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) event at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles
The annual salute to IDF soldiers is hosted by Cheryl and Haim Saban. Besides Cowell, the event was also graced by the presence of Lionel Richie, who gave a rare live performance.
Saban was able to raise a record $20 million for the welfare of Israeli soldiers this year. The top contributors were International Fellowship of Christians and Jews director Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein ($4.5 million), Saban ($2.3 million), Oracle CEO Larry Ellison ($1 million) and Cowell ($50,000).
"The Jewish and Israeli community in Los Angeles recognizes and embraces the soldiers of the IDF and will continue to do everything possible to thank them and strengthen them," said Saban, who has served as chairman of the gala event for the past seven years.