Every soldier of the IDF has a unique background and story, yet some soldiers have a truly astonishing tale to tell. Meet Oren Almog:

Blind Terror Victim Volunteers to the IDF

“[It is] true that I suffer from blindness and have scars, but I decided that I’m still like everyone and so I enlisted.” Credit: Sgt. Yarden Man

Oren lost five members of his family as well his eyesight in the 2003 Maxim Restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa, where 21 people were killed and 51 were wounded. Oren quickly became the face of the second intifada, and despite losing his eyesight at a very young age, he insisted over the years on being treated just like his friends.

Three days ago, nine years after the atrocity, Oren walked up to the ceremonial stage unassisted by either a walking cane or a seeing-eye dog, and swore an oath to the IDF to the applause and the tears of everyone in attendance.

Blind Terror Victim Volunteers to the IDF

Pvt. Oren Almog at his swearing-in ceremony on January 26th Credit: Sgt. Yarden Man

“As someone who was hit pretty hard by terrorism I am proud to serve an organization [the IDF] that aims to protect the security of Israel, to prevent terrorism, and to protect its residents,” he said later with a smile. Oren volunteered to the army as he was not conscripted due to his handicap; however, he has nevertheless been accepted into an undisclosed intelligence unit.

“I want my father and grandfather to be proud of me,” he said. “I was raised by them to serve, if I had not enlisted I would feel a very big missed opportunity. I am proud that I’ve decided to undertake this trying task, and contribute back to the state.”