Champion of Commitment – Doron Almog

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Maariv – Dec 18, 2013
By Shaul Mofaz

‘Maariv’ Chooses 100 People of Inspiration in Israel

Doron Almog holds the title of IDF Major General (Res.) as well as creator of the Aleh Negev Rehabilitation Village for adults with severe cognitive disabilities and multiple handicaps.  We have known each other for decades, and each year my appreciation for him deepens.  We met first in the beginning of the ‘70s during our service in the parachutists’ brigade, where we fought shoulder to shoulder.  Already then I was witness to his courage, leadership abilities and the strength of values that guided all his decisions.

Our paths crossed numerous times throughout our army service, both in the Southern Command and in the General Staff.  Together we fought in the Lebanon and Entebbe operations, in the Yom Kippur War and in the first Lebanon War.  We were privileged to lead battalions together, and to work to build up the military strength of the State of Israel.  Doron was very close to me, a true brother in arms.

Doron’s life story is strewn with many successes as well as deep personal pain.  His brother Eran, may he rest in peace, fell during the Yom Kippur War while serving as a tank commander in the armored forces.  After the battle Doron went out alone to search for his brother, going from tank to tank until he brought him home for burial.  Doron’s son was born after the war, and he named him Eran after his brother.  Little Eran was born with very special needs.  Doron and his wife Didi showered him with the greatest love that parents can give a child.  Time and again I stood in awe of the tremendous strength of character that Doron demonstrated with his dedicated care of his son.  Doron was privileged to live the deep father-son love relationship, even though he was never privileged to hear his son call him “Daddy.”  Little Eran was unable to say even that one word.

After his retirement from the IDF, Doron began to establish the Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village for adults with severe disabilities.  I was very happy to accept his invitation to visit the village, where I saw for myself the outstanding planning as well as the incredible love and sensitivity that is part and parcel of this very special place.  It is obvious that everything related to the village was planned and implemented with endless dedication.  Aleh Negev has become an active social project for the entire Israeli public in general and for the Negev region in particular.

When Eran passed away in 2007, Doron channeled his great pain into further activity as he continued to lead, nurture and expand the rehabilitative village on behalf of Israeli society.  This is Doron.

Today, as head of the committee to implement the cabinet plan for providing status for the Bedouin sector in the Negev, Doron is leading the process for the solution of one of the complex national problems in the State of Israel.  Doron deals with this topic skillfully, sensitively and with the dedication that is his trademark.  Under his leadership I believe that a solution will be found for the Bedouin population; where dual existence will become reality and peace initiatives will be created for the citizens of the Negev and for the future of the State of Israel.  The paths that Doron has pursued throughout his life, his captivating personality, the life projects he has built, and his choice to dedicate his life to the betterment of society are an inspiration for us all.

The writer is a member of the Knesset, the 16th IDF Chief of General Staff, and previous Defense Minister.


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