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In 2014, I left the army and joined Lt. Col Ariel Almog and, together with the Yad Layeled organization (and in partnership with JNF-USA), we founded the “Special in Uniform” program. The program integrates thousands of young people with disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and, in turn, into Israeli society. We see the inclusion of people with disabilities in the army as a way to help usher them into a self-sufficient life once they are discharged from the army. Our belief is that everyone belongs and has the right to reach his or her full potential. Special in Uniform focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant to help each one find a job that is a perfect fit for the individual’s skills within the IDF. The attention is on the ability, not the disability, of each individual, encouraging independence and integration into society.
Updated: Nov. 23, 2016
On a recent ten-day Tikvah Ramah Israel trip, twelve participants with disabilities, ages 18-40, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime visit to a 1,000-soldier army base. Admittedly, other tour groups visit army bases; our group spent three hours at the MAZI/Bar-Lev base near Kiryat Milachi, where soldiers – in full uniform – with Down syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disabilities are “just soldiers.”
Updated: Feb. 19, 2014
As part of a joint project with the Israel Defense Forces, 100 high school students will be chosen each year to participate in a special elite program that allows them to complete a bachelor's degree before performing an extended army service of six years, instead of the usual two or three. During the six years, they would serve as school teachers, primarily in the periphery. This is part of the Israeli Education Ministry's plans to improve the quality of instruction at the country's schools.
Updated: Nov. 23, 2010
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is working to widen their cadets' perspective by having them familiarize themselves with the epicenter of Israel's secular experience: Tel Aviv. Participants in the IDF cadets course will spend a Saturday in Tel Aviv, where they will tour areas in the southern part of the city inhabited primarily by migrant workers and low-income families, along with parts of Jaffa.
Updated: Jul. 18, 2010
The deputy chief of staff of the IDF, Brig. Gen. Erez Weiner, wrote a damning indictment of Powerpoint presentations in last month's issue of the IDF journal Maarachot. He claimed that such presentations represent a strong point that has turned into a weak point. He emphasized that the prevalent use of these presentations in security discussions 'has made the level of discussion, and the depth of study, more superficial. The IDF remains addicted to this tool, and is paying for it dearly.'
Updated: Jun. 09, 2009
An educational program called Nativ is offered to Israeli soldiers and officers who are not Jewish according to Halacha (Orthodox Jewish law) during their military service. The program commences with a seven or eleven-week intensive course in Judaism to prepare them for conversion. After completing the course and being sent back to their bases, soldiers interested in proceeding with the conversion process are then invited to two two-week seminars, with a month off between them, before undergoing the official conversion by three rabbis of the IDF Chaplaincy.
Updated: Nov. 26, 2008