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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Autistic Soldiers in Israel

Anna Ahronheim at The Jerusalem Post:
After years of exempting them from serving in the Israeli military, the IDF is aiming to recruit some 500 soldiers on the autism spectrum by the end of next year.

The future soldiers will join the army as part of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate’s TITKADMU program which recruits people with autism into the military.

“Today there are 52 soldiers with autism in the program, and by the end of December, we will have 70. By the end of 2022 there will be over 500,” said Capt. Udi Heller.
Heller, the highest-ranking soldier with autism in the IDF, initiated the program which he says gives hope to the thousands of people with autism in Israel.

According to Heller, there’s been an 18% increase year-by-year of those diagnosed with autism in Israel’s education system; 19,500 diagnosed in 2019, 27,300 in 2020, and some 32,000 this year.