The government approved unanimously Sunday the appointment of Deputy Chief of Mossad
Yossi Cohen as national security advisor. Ministers praised the choice of the man who is known for his intense and secretive service, but few know the moving family story of his son, Captain Yonatan Cohen, formerly an officer in the 8200 unit in the Israeli
Intelligence Corps and now a team commander at the IDF
Spokesperson's Office, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.
"Captain Johnny"—his army nickname—was born in 1986, in a premature birth that caused irreversible damage: Cerebral palsy
caused due to lack of oxygen during birth. Yonatan cannot walk, cannot read as he is legally blind, and cannot write; but through his family and his will he decided to overcome his disabilities and use his skills as a lecturer and a multi-lingual honors student.
Though exempt from military service, Yonatan fought to serve and was eventually conscripted. He served in the Intelligence Corps
for several years and is now on permanent duty at the IDF Spokesperson's Office. He leads an intel team responsible for international communications. His commanders say he is an example of mind over body.
Yonatan lectures often to teenagers around Israel. "I don't expect anything to be easy. My whole life is a struggle, but because of my struggles my life is good. I could have been constantly asking, 'why did this happen to me?' But that's a waste of time. I decided at a young age I would do whatever I set my mind to," said Cohen. He also said his dream is to meet a partner and start a family.
When given the news of his father's appointment Yonatan told his friends he is the proudest son in the world. His father, who will assume his role in coming weeks, said: "To me, Yonatan is the real warrior."
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