click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

IDF Integrates Special Needs Soldiers

IDF Integrates Special Needs Soldiers

A foiled terror attack provides the inspiration for new levels of inclusion.


Imagine being an Israeli kid with Down Syndrome and dreaming one day of becoming a soldier in the IDF.

Imagine the parents dreaming to see this special child gain an independent life.

Now imagine this dream becoming reality.

As the video below shows, "Great in Uniform" is a project that integrates young people with disabilities into the IDF, as soldiers in every aspect including a uniform. The goal: to provide a successful path of integration into society.

It all started in 2001, when IDF Lt. Col. Ariel Almog was driving in the Jordan Valley and spotted a terrorist approaching a bus full of passengers. After a short struggle, Almog succeeded in neutralizing the terrorist, who was wearing three explosive devices.

Almog was shot in the head, but miraculously managed to neutralize the terrorist.

Then suddenly, shots were fired at Almog from a nearby olive grove. A "back-up" terrorist was there to assist in the planned carnage. Almog was shot in the head, but miraculously managed to fire his own weapon and neutralize the second terrorist as well.

While recuperating for months in the hospital, Almog was exposed to many injured people with disabilities. It was then he conceived of incorporating disabled teens into the IDF.

Today, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Belinitzky of the Israeli organization "Lend a Hand" is on board to expand the project to include thousands more teenagers throughout the country.

Rabbi Belinitzky is driven to fulfill the Torah precepts of "Love your neighbor" and sanctifying God's name, Kiddush Hashem.

By working in IDF kitchens and supply depots, the project enables young men and women to preserve their human dignity, while gaining skills to contribute meaningfully to society. A team of psychologists and social workers accompany the soldiers throughout the program.

It's something all Israel can be proud of.

May 17, 2014

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 10

(9) Sharon Dodge, May 18, 2016 6:04 PM

Bravo to IDF for this wonderful program.

This is a very heartening stry and I am proud of you all for intragrating these very special teens int the working force with the IDF. I love Israel and hope to live there some day. I will be there this fall and would love to help out and work with this special group.
God Bless you all.

(8) cindy graham, July 14, 2014 4:58 AM

donating funds to the idf

I would love to find out how to send a financial donation to the idf, how would I go about doing this... please let me know.

(7) Darrell, May 22, 2014 3:15 AM

Seeing my handicap brothers and sisters.

I am one of thous invisible handicap people mine can't be seen but have me write something down without some kind of help, or dealing with others it has taken all of my 54 years to seam normal.
So in watching this video it was like watching family as they are my brothers and sisters.
I can see where Israel is doing thing for all it's people helping them become part of something more and not putting them to the side like they do here in the U.S.A.
To be discarded like garbage, and treated so is to feel even more disable, but to see what they do in adding them and being an include and valued part is to feel worth.
We as any kind of a person want to feel as part of something and worth something I don't need to say more.
Now I need to think how do I get to Israel and join the IDF and do they take the over 50 crowd?

(6) srah, May 19, 2014 6:28 AM

kol ha kavod!


What an outstanding project!! KOL HA KAVOD!! TODAH RABA!!

(5) Herb Fried, May 19, 2014 1:11 AM

Incredible but not surprising

It is incredible that any country that faces such security concerns would have a program like this this but for people who know what Israel is all about it is not unexpected. Truly a light unto the nations.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment