In Israel, young men and women with disabilities are welcomed to fulfill their military service to their country, just like everyone else.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל – Tsva ha-Hagana le-Yisra’el – “The Army of Defense for Israel” – is known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal (צה״ל ).
The eight wars and twelve border conflicts that Israel has fought in its short history since 1948 makes the IDF one of the most experienced and highly regarded fighting forces in the world.
The IDF has never been defeated.
Amazing as this is, Israel is also leading the world in another, completely unexpected way.
The IDF is the only national defense force in the world that welcomes citizens with disabilities to fulfill their military service to their country, just like everyone else.
Young Israeli men and women with disabilities are welcomed by the IDF to live their dreams of joining the Israel Defense Forces, in spite of disabilities.
The government of every other country on earth exempts young men and women with disabilities from military service.
But Israel sees things differently . . . instead of disability, Israel sees the worth, value, and dignity of all its citizens.
The IDF welcomes and includes all of its young men and women as fellow soldiers, and future respected veterans.
The pride of being a soldier in the IDF encourages young men and women with disabilities.
The experience of military service to their country acknowledges their value – helps them to prepare for the adventure of a more independent life – and encourages more confident integration within Israeli society.
All young men and women in Israel are encouraged to participate to the fullest extent of their ability to protect and defend their homeland. They are valuable, important, contributing members within Israeli society, just like everyone else.
The stories of these young people represent some of the reasons why the IDF is regarded as a respected force for good in this world.
There is far more to Israel than what you can see on the surface.