In 1981, the IDF (Zahal) launched a special program at the ‘Havat HaShomer’ base intended to promote and help populations in need. The Center for Promoting Special Populations (MAKAM) is unique: it is the only program in the IDF (Zahal) that puts the individual’s needs during his mandatory service as its top priority and doesn’t serve as a substitute for any other educational program. Yesterday, the IDF (Zahal) marked the 30th anniversary of the program.

The populations considered as ‘special’ are usually uneducated youth, populations with a problematic social-economic background, populations who have a criminal background, minorities and new immigrants. The center qualifies these populations, which will otherwise not adapt to the IDF (Zahal), for a meaningful and contributing service which will later on help them in adapting in work and life after their military service.

How the IDF Helps to Promote Special Populations

Lt. Nissim Buzaglo, Officer in the Paratroopers Brigade, graduate of the MAKAM program. (Photo: Noa Adar, BaMahane)

Approximately 1,200 new recruits enter the project each year. 90% of the recruits complete the program and go on to serve in different roles in the IDF (Zahal). 75% serve the full mandatory three years, while 10% serve in combat units.

The instructing and commanding roles in the base are considered highly desirable; 90% of these roles in the base are manned by female soldiers. Many commanders in the IDF (Zahal) see the opportunity of commanding at these populations as an important mission.

In an official ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of the MAKAM project, the Head of the Personal Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivay thanked Lt. Nissim Buzaglo, an officer in the Paratroopers Brigade who graduated the project, for both his military service in general and for being a fine example of the success of the project.