Jerusalem Post – Mar 8, 2013
By Greer Fay Cashman
Not so long ago, people with special needs were isolated from society and hidden away by their families lest their physical or mental conditions or both cast a blot on the marriage potential of their siblings.
Today, there is greater sensitivity for the feelings of people with special needs, resulting in a global effort to include such individuals – especially children – in mainstream activities. One of these activities was last Friday’s Jerusalem Marathon, when more than 100 volunteers, including Maj.-Gen. (Res) Doron Almog; MK Elazar Stern; soldiers; Beitar Jerusalem players; medical students; and relatives of 20 special needs youngsters joined forces to push wheelchairs in the marathon. There was no way that spectators could miss them, Nearly all of them were wearing brilliant green ALEH T-shirts.
This week, Almog, Stern and the soccer players all received special citations from ALEH in recognition of their compassion and commitment. Almog is deeply involved with ALEH and the founder of ALEH Negev, a village that provides residential and comprehensive medical and social services for people with special needs. He understands the problems of families with special needs members all too well. He had an autistic son named Eran, who died in 2007 at age 23 but continues to be an inspiration to his family, who work to improve the quality of life for other young people who have missed out on some of the essentials of nature’s bounty.