For the first time ever, an induction ceremony was held for 11 soldiers with developmental disabilities who will serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Their parents and loved ones gathered around as the young graduates from a special needs school in central Israel were sworn in on Monday.
Osnat Paz, whose son, Gal, was diagnosed with autism and later schizophrenia at age 13, described the swearing-in as a triumph…
Asked how Gal felt about joining the army, Osnat held back tears.
“He is so happy,” she said, noting that her son will work as a cook. “He told me he will try to be like all the other soldiers.”
Moreover, Osnat said, all children with disabilities should be encouraged to join the IDF.
“They must try, because they can be like the other soldiers and it makes them feel proud,” she said.
“Every soldier who joins the IDF takes an oath to be a good soldier to the country and people of Israel, and, until today, the children with special needs have not attended a swearing- in ceremony,” [Belinitzky, CEO of Special in Uniform] said…
“This is important, because they feel like they are like everyone else,” he added. “Now they have a uniform, a beret and a pin showing that they belong. It shows the whole country the importance of integrating these soldiers.”