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August 25, 2016 4:55 am

A New Group Shows That Israel Is the Most Moral Army in the World

avatar by Eliana Rudee

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Soldiers from the IDF's Nahal Brigade leave Lebanon at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Soldiers from the IDF’s Nahal Brigade leaving Lebanon at the end of the war in 2006. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British army officer, famously said that Israel has the most moral army in the world. He based his opinion on the measures taken by the Israel Defense Forces to minimize wartime civilian casualties. But the IDF’s unique attention to at-risk civilians isn’t limited to warning Gazan citizens about incoming attacks.

The IDF goes above and beyond when it comes to supporting soldiers with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities who enlist or are injured on duty. Israel’s Special in Uniform (SIU) program, in partnership with the Jewish National Fund, offers young Israelis with intellectual and developmental disabilities the skills and training necessary to thrive in the IDF, live independently, and integrate into Israeli society. The program is designed to plant the seeds for a more inclusive and compassionate army, society, and nation. Lieutenant Colonel Tiran Attia, who heads the program, says that his vision for the soldiers with disabilities is 100 percent integration into society.

Currently, there are 256 people in SIU, but according to Attia, they hope to have 1,000 initiates into the army by 2020. It is an expensive program, Attia acknowledges, but Israel, the Israeli Army and the Jewish people are all part of the system that must make a better community and society. He explains, “the Israeli army is a huge chain and we are obliged and committed to take care of the units of those chains which are not strong like the others. The army is a melting pot for all the people of Israel. We are one.”

In Israel, citizens are typically required to serve in the Israeli army. Israelis with disabilities are exempt from the army but are able to volunteer in the IDF, either part time or full time. For them, the ability to enlist in the IDF means taking part in the most normalizing experience of Israeli maturation. Not only is the army a period of self-growth for individuals, but it also opens doors for jobs, educational opportunities, and social life in Israel. Thus, for people with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to integrate into the population, enlisting in the army is key.

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For soldiers who are physically injured during service, the IDF offers an enormous amount of support, both financial and non-monetary, even if the injury is unrelated to service. Sivan Levy, a women’s Paralympic Goalball athlete, who is representing Israel in the Rio Olympics, suddenly stopped seeing well during her service as a medic. The IDF permitted Sivan to end her service half a year early, but continued to allow the tests, medicines, and treatment required to treat her condition. “The IDF helps me with anything that I need medically. The doctors help with the things that I need for my eyes, not only procedures and medicine, but glasses as well. Basically everything in my life they help with- anything that blind people need, whether it’s with my studies, such as someone to read for me, tutors, and financial assistance towards studying. They give me a better way of living.”

When asked why she thinks the IDF continues to help her, Sivan answered, “The IDF doesn’t have to do this, but they were kind to me and decided to take care of me even though there is no proof that my loss of sight had any connection to something that happened in the army. The IDF is really helpful for me and they do whatever they can to help me.” Sivan says that now that she has finished education, she would not mind enlisting in the army again.

Attia confirmed Sivan’s experiences as consistent with what he has seen with Special in Uniform: “We see the full support of the commanders and soldiers. Some people, out of ignorance, see the soldiers with disabilities as a burden. But this is our work – to show them that they are a part and they are contributing.”

Combating ignorance is precisely one of the main goals of the Special in Uniform program, in addition to promoting the inclusivity of Israeli society, changing the way Israelis view those with special needs, and transforming the social face of Israel. According to Sivan and Attia, thanks to the IDF, this goal and dream may soon become a reality.

Eliana Rudee is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center and the author of the “Israel Girl” column for Her bylines have been featured in USA Today, Forbes, and The Hill. Follow her column on This article was originally published by The Hill.

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  • Poyani

    This is the most absurd and at times hilarious thing I have ever read.

    It reads like a Klan newsletter where a Klansman explains that the KKK are the nicest group in the world because of how they treat white women.

    Any sane person would be thinking “yea – but the KKK were never defined by mistreatment of white women. They are well known for something much more significant which runs counter to the article’s narrative.”

    But I suppose that would go over the author’s head and those of his supporters. He would probably call such people “anti-white racists” and claim the KKK are not racists, they just want to protect their communities from black criminals.

  • Alan Stafford

    What a lot of hot diarrhea. #BDS .

    • What a stupid comment. With what exactly did you disagree.

    • Esther Sarah Evans


      Oh, you want hot diarrhea ? Take a look at the films of the effects of the US bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The allied bombing of Hamburg and Dresden was also of very hot nature – including people stuck in tarred roads heated to liquid by the heat of the bombs. I believe BDS stands for Bulldog Sh-t ….Now that – especially fresh – really stinks….

    • Eddie N

      Alan I hope you fully commit to your ignorance. Do some research on BDS, give up EVERY Israeli invention and go back to the Stone Age with your no technology or medicine to save your sorry life from almost anythibg with a treatment.

  • Jay Lavine

    What is most important is to be the most moral country in the world. That’s what it would mean to be a Jewish state.