By Esther Suissa

In a few minutes, we will be leaving for the army base in order to see my son Asher, finish the procedure of completing his 3-year military service. Nothing unusual. Happens every day in the State of Israel. However Asher, our special 22 year old has severe learning disabilities, spent most of his school years in Special Ed and the army debated whether to conscript him or not. But they did, with our full support, and for three years he has been sorting out tank parts in the Machane Natan army base near Beersheba. A hero on the front? No. But he did what he was asked to do. made sure that he was clean shaven and dressed smartly in his uniform every day and learned what discipline means.

David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel and of the IDF, saw the army not just as a fighting force but as a social and educational body which would help eradicate social gaps and in which every soldier would find his/her way. Despite the challenges involved, Asher made it and is proud to be an IDF graduate.

Thank you to the IDF for accepting him, nurturing him and telling him off when needed.

He will leave the army base today with his head up high, and defiantly showing his ex-maths teacher from 11th grade who never believed that he would make it in the army.

Symbolically today, when another soldier is entering prison for making a fatal moral mistake, my son leaves the “People’s Army” just as Bengi had planned, with his head up high, ready to face the challenges of civilian life.

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