B. (21) was born with cerebral palsy and has partial paralysis in all four limbs. Just before he turned 18, B. got a letter from the IDF, stating that he was officially exempt from military service.
However, the physical hindrance did not stop B. from insisting on forgoing his exemption and joining the IDF. "I felt obligated to my country," B. explains, I decided that there was no reason for dodging the draft and giving up. Nothing justified not being like everyone else."
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According to Yedioth Ahronoth, B. battled doctors' references, and was eventually granted the awaited permit, by order of which he was able to volunteer for a three year service, which is the duration of men's mandatory service.
He was assigned to a highly classified Intelligence unit, where he was greatly valued. But that was also not enough. Last week, B. graduated from the IDF officers training course, and even got the Brigade Commander Decoration. "Being an IDF officer was a lifelong dream," B. says enthusiastically.
"Ever since I was enlisted, I wanted to be an officer, and I've been struggling to make it happen since my first day in the army. That is my form of self-fulfillment. I consider IDF service a calling, and see myself part of the military for many years to come."
The massive heat on the day of the graduation ceremony at the officers' training base (Bahad 1) did not scare away B.'s many friends, who joined his family members to share his exciting moment with him. "They are my driving force," B. explains, "without my family and friends I couldn't have done it."
Status and accomplishment notwithstanding, B. diverts attention from his own story and speaks up to those who oppose universal recruitment: "I turn to all to please reconsider," he said, "it's only three years. You don’t have to be an officer. You can be in combat or logistics. Everyone should contribute what he or she can. This is our country, and everyone who is still hesitating can take a look at me."
B.'s identity, as well as his official capacity, cannot be disclosed due to national security issues, but according to Yedioth Ahronoth, in about a month and a half, following professional training, B. will be awarded the rank of second lieutenant, thereby officially becoming an officer in the Israel Defense Forces.
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