A new program of the IDF (Zahal) Intelligence Corps and the Akim Organization for the Rights of the Disabled is facilitating the enlistment of soldiers with special needs

Date: 11/08/2010, 4:51 PM     Author: Arnon Ben Dror

The joint effort by the IDF (Zahal) Intelligence Corps and the National AKIM Organization for Rights of the Disabled in creating a program to enlist soldiers with special needs is growing ever stronger. The first cycle of drafting resulted in the enlistment of five disabled youth. The second, which began in July 2010, includes eight new soldiers and in the third cycle, 24 soldiers are expected to enlist through this program.

The two first enlistees of this second cycle, Rinader (24) and Reuven (24), recently completed the draft process in the army induction center. They went through all of the stages, from the first step of being photographed, to receiving their official army IDs, to having the fingerprints recorded, to being administered vaccinations, to the final step of receiving their own uniforms. Throughout the entire process, these future soldiers showed much excitement and pride.

The two enlisted after completing a six month preparation for draft as civilians, and they served another six months as volunteers in the medical equipment storerooms at the Tel Hashomer army base. Upon finishing the draft process in the army induction base, the two will return to where they had volunteered, to serve for a year with the possibility of lengthening their service an additional year.

The six additional enlistees of this current cycle are currently in the final steps of the Sarel preparation program, and are expected to be drafted in the coming months.

Everyone Wins

The special recruiting program of the Intelligence Corps has set a mission for itself to incorporate and facilitate positive interactions between soldiers with mental disabilities and the general IDF (Zahal) personnel, soldiers and commanders alike. Most of the soldiers participating in these meetings are then exposed for the first time to a community in Israel that they weren’t previously familiar with.

For these new recruits, enlisting in the IDF (Zahal) constitutes an exciting opportunity to contribute to the country, in addition to improving their self confidence and honing their skills and strengths while being cheered on by their proud families.

Chairman of the Akim organization, Maj. Gen. (res.) Ami Ayalon, says that “enlisting people with mental disabilities is the best way they can take advantage of their rights as citizens, not just by receiving from the country but also by serving it, and the IDF (Zahal), which enables this to happen, is proving that takes upon itself to contribute to the civic and cultural missions of the State of Israel.”