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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

National Service – An Experience Shared

I realise I’m a little late posting this heart-warming clip but I think it deserves as much publicity as possible.

It features the decade-old project "Great in Uniform" which aims to blend young Israelis with disabilities into the Israel Defence Forces, first as volunteers and then as soldiers. They are even given a soldier's ID and uniform as part of their preparation for an independent life and their integration into Israeli society.

The project was initiated by Reserve Major Colonel Ariel Almog, who was then the commander of the Home Front Command base in Ramleh.

 

Perhaps this clip and the project behind it strikes a chord with everyone as it shows how national service of  any type, for any purpose, may unify people because of the shared experience. It has been said that army service is a ‘great leveller’. I disagree there because army life – like school – is immensely hierarchical and gives only a small elite a genuine opportunity to  achieve top rank. However, the real beauty of any type of national service is that it gives the less fortunate, be they disabled or simply socially  disaffected, a real chance to do something worthwhile and may also help to lift them into the jobs market after their service concludes. If other countries resumed enforced national service – it does not have to be military – I believe it would end many social ills at a stroke.

© Natalie Wood (14 May 2014)

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