Thursday, April 14, 2011
IDF Chief of Staff, DM, Meet with Mentally Disabled Soldiers
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Ganz and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Wednesday with soldiers who are developmentally disabled.
The defense establishment's top brass presented the IDF's special soldiers with Passover haggadahs illustrated by the children of Akim, an organization for children with disabilities.
The soldiers - Cpl. Amit Rinder, Cpl. Fazit Rubin and Sergeant Gilad Rozdiel - serve in the IDF's Tel HaShomer base. Their service comes as part of a program to recruit people with mental retardation to carry out their mandatory service in the IDF. The program is administered with the assistance of Akim and the Ministry of Social Services.
At present there are some 45 people participating in various stages of the program, including two who have already completed their service and have been discharged.
The main purpose of the program is to strengthen the personal safety and abilities of individuals with developmental disabilities, and to help integrate them into mainstream Israeli society.
AKIM Israel - Haim and IDF
AKIM Israel has created a program for mentally challenged young people to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. They are welcomed on the bases, and the young men and women have a tremendous sense of pride in serving their country. The families of these individuals are equally thrilled that their children are able to participate in the IDF. This is Haim's story. AKIM serves Israelis of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Visit www.AKIMUSA.org