Hero who foiled terror attack leads fight for disabled soldiers

Ariel Almog, who heroically foiled terror attack, is recognized again for his work for disabled soldiers looking to integrate into the IDF.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ariel Almog (center) with participants in Special in Uniform program
Ariel Almog (center) with participants in Special in Uniform program
Special in Uniform

In a ceremony at the President’s residence in Jerusalem, the Special in Uniform organization will receive the Presidential Award for Volunteerism, one of 12 exceptional programs selected for this prestigious recognition in 2017.

Lt. Col. Ariel Almog will accept the award on behalf of the program. Almog is one of the founders of Special in Uniform, the trailblazing program that integrates young people with autism and other disabilities into the IDF and Israeli society.

This is not the first time Almog’s has earned national recognition.

In 2001, Almog received the Medal of Appreciation for risking his life and preventing a massive terrorist attack. Stopped behind an Egged bus at the Sde Trumot Junction, Almog saw a suspicious individual trying to board. The IDF officer jumped out of his car, confirmed the young man was strapped with explosives and neutralized him.

Almog was shot in the head by an accomplice hiding in the bushes near the road. During his two months of hospital recovery, he interacted with scores of teenagers with physical or mental challenges who were marginalized in Israeli culture. Upon his release, he helped found the program to give these teens their dream of serving in the IDF.

The Presidential Award for Volunteerism encourages the spirit of generosity in Israel’s society by recognizing the outstanding work of charitable individuals and organizations across all sectors of the population. Thousands of recommendations are submitted each year. Several hundred contenders are invited to present themselves before the presidential selection panel.

Special in uniform has joined hands with JNF to reach many more Israeli families. According to Alan Wolk, Chairman of the Board of Special in Uniform USA, “Lt. Col. Almog is the driving force behind everything the program achieves. His spirit, passion and ongoing care are an inspiration to everyone involved with the organization. This is a man whose incredible bravery on the battlefield is matched by his boldness in taking on this important mission.”

By including people with disabilities in the IDF, the program promotes a more caring and inclusive society at the national level. With the support of the JNF, Special in Uniform has announced plans to ramp up enrollment to over 1,000 soldiers by 2012.

The Presidential Award will be presented in the garden of the President’s Jerusalem residence, with program representatives, families and dignitaries participating.