IDF soldiers with disabilities perform 'Hatikvah' on Israel’s Independence Day

Celebrating Independence Day with inclusion: IDF soldiers with disabilities perform 'Hatikvah' on Israel’s Independence Day.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Special in Uniform soldiers celebrate Independence Day
Special in Uniform soldiers celebrate Independence Day
Special in Uniform



The message of hope is one of Israel’s supreme strengths. The determination to succeed with what exists has driven Israel to win wars against nations larger and stronger, raise fish in the desert, create water out of thin air, and become global leaders in medicine and technology.

The same is true of inclusion and integrating people with disabilities into greater society, a goal that Israel and the IDF have taken to a new, unprecedented level. Inclusion in Israel is influenced by Jewish values regarding the importance of life and human dignity, and combined with the unique mindset shaped by Israeli culture. Together, these produce results that are different from the norm and serve as inspiration to people contending with these issues, no matter where they are in the world.

One of the most powerful examples of this is Special in Uniform, a JNF-USA program that recruits young men and women with mild physical and mental disabilities and autism into the Israel Defense Forces and helps prepare them for a career following army service. The program offers training and skills to adolescents with special needs, empowering them to integrate long-term into Israeli society and the workforce by accentuating the unique talents of each participant and placing him or her into an appropriate setting within the IDF.

Special in Uniform’s volunteer training program culminates with graduating youths receiving their soldier’s IDs and being placed in military bases across Israel, where they cull from the knowledge and skills that they acquired to perform important jobs on base, forget their disabilities, and focus instead on their versatile abilities and talents.

“Becoming more inclusive doesn’t mean integrating those that are weaker, but rather making the collective stronger. It means culling from every person, strength, and talent to build a stronger, kinder, and more versatile society, where everyone benefits,” says Alan Wolk Chair of Special in Uniform committee of JNF-USA.

“At Special in Uniform, we don’t just respect differences—we celebrate them,” says Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia, Director of Special in Uniform. “We believe that to create a future, we need people with diverse abilities. That’s why we’re committed to creating a society where everyone can contribute and do their utmost. It’s when everyone’s voice is heard and valued that we’re inspired to go beyond what’s been done before,”

Russell F. Robinson, Jewish National Fund's Chief Executive Officer sent a special message to the special soldiers.

“I want to thank you, because you give us an opportunity to see a true spirit of life, true spirt of Zionism, true spirit of Israeli IDF,” he said. “It’s not just F-16 or Merkava tank, it’s human beings like you that make our IDF so special. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your life.”

Indeed, there is no better time of year than Independence Day to heed the cry for inclusion and help those yearning for it to realize their dreams.

Special soldiers celebrate Independence Day Special in Uniform

Special soldiers celebrate Independence Day Special in Uniform

Special soldiers celebrate Independence Day Special in Uniform
Special soldiers celebrate Independence Day Special in Uniform


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