Photo by Special in Uniform on 3 January, 2024

Soldiers with Disabilities Contribute to Israel’s War Effort

Public By Pesach Benson • 3 January, 2024

Jerusalem, 3 January, 2024 (TPS) -- In the heart of the Emergency Logistics Warehouses at the IDF Home Front Command Base in Ramle, an extraordinary scene unfolds daily. Young soldiers, facing various disabilities and neurodiversity, are actively contributing to Israel’s war effort through their dedicated service in the Special in Uniform (SIU) program.

Paz Chaim, a 20-year-old soldier with severe visual impairment and other disabilities, exemplifies the unwavering spirit driving these soldiers. “Today, I filled crates with sleeping bags. My impaired vision doesn’t limit my determination,” he asserts, proudly wearing his uniform. “I may not see distance or fine details, but I’m here to do my part. This is my mission, and I won’t let disability stand in our way!”

The bustling Logistics Center serves as the epicenter of activity, where soldiers tirelessly unload trucks, organize supplies, and meticulously prepare equipment destined for units across the country. Soldiers in one area pack uniforms, helmets and winter socks while others sort food, water, hygienic items and other things soldiers need. Delivery trucks outside take everything to the units on the front.

Amidst the flurry of activity, soldiers like Ilai, who is on the autism spectrum, exemplify the program’s ethos, working tirelessly to fulfill the nation’s call for support.

“Me and my friends, we’ve all got different special needs,” he explains without pausing from his meticulous work. “We know how critical things are on the front, and we responded to the nation’s call, no questions asked. We’re here to give to Israel, to contribute all we can to our country and fellow citizens.”

Company Commander Ran Mamman explains the pivotal role of the Ramle base and the special soldiers.

“Ramle is one of the largest logistics bases in the country, and from here, we dispatch equipment to military units deployed around the country. Here at Logistics, we order equipment, receive deliveries, sort items and repackage them based on the requests that we receive from unit commanders on the front,” Mamman says.

“Their enthusiasm, diligence, and resilience contribute to a unique, positive atmosphere. With their dedication, we’ve efficiently provided equipment to soldiers on the front lines,” Mamman stresses.

E. Reiner, a reservist who directs one of the logistics packing rooms in the Logistics Base applauds the soldiers’ efforts, saying they give a lift to everyone else.

“Seeing these kids working overtime with enthusiasm and energy impacts every one of us, and we’re inspired to do the same,” Reiner explains.

The Special in Uniform program is a collaborative initiative of the Israel Defense Forces and Jewish National Fund-USA that focuses on integrating young people with physical and mental disabilities into the military and Israeli society. Around 1,000 Special In Uniform soldiers from communities across Israel are serving in 45 bases in all branches of the IDF.

Celine Leeds, Executive Director of Jewish National Fund-USA, which supports the SIU program, emphasizes the integral role these soldiers play. “For every soldier on the front, we need two soldiers back home at Logistics ensuring their needs are met,” she says. “SIU’s soldiers are instrumental in the war effort, bringing pride to Israel and the IDF.”