ALEH residents join the Prime Minister at a Graduation Ceremony for IAF pilots

ALEH residents join the Prime Minister at a Graduation Ceremony for IAF pilots

A strong nation is one that does not leave its most vulnerable members behind. This message was exemplified by Major Gen. Amir Eshel, Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who invited disabled children of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village to the Graduation Ceremony of the IAF Pilots’ Course. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu was also in attendance, and he greeted ALEH’S special residents with warmth and sensitivity. His remarks [unofficially translated here] were wonderfully encouraging to all asssembled:

“ …I arrived [at the Hatzerim Air Base] to mark the graduation ceremony for a group completing their pilots training. Here I met with the children of the Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitative Village – a place unique in the world, recognized by the Government of Israel as a “National Project”, where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a home for life. The special place was founded and continues under the guidance of Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, who is here with us today. Here… I have encountered military courage alongside personal courage – and am reminded again how powerful a combination that is within our nation…”

[Excerpt from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech at IAF Pilots’ Course Graduation Ceremony, 25 December 2014] The Prime Minister posted photos of the event on his personal Facebook page:

Doron Almog, who serves as Chairman of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, shared his own feeling of solidarity and commented on the social changes that have impacted on our society:

“We sat behind the podium, in a place of honor, close to the senior officers and the young pilots, and witnessed a display of incredible strength and charged e¬motion. Our beloved son Eran, of blessed memory, who was born with cognitive disabilities, did not merit to be here in Hatzeirim together with his friends from the Village. But his spirit shines from everywhere. It is at times like this that acceptance of those who are different finds real expression. In the past, one would never think to integrate disabled children within this kind of occasion – a ceremony honoring IAF graduates. Today, this has become an integral part of our identity as a caring society. The strongest members of society are giving over unconditional love and reserves of strength to the most vulnerable among us…”

For the new pilots, for the strong leaders, and for the special residents of ALEH – the future is hopeful and the sky’s the limit….