Autistic IDF soldier presents Iron Dome to President Biden

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15 Jul 2022, 5:25 pm


Shortly after alighting from Air Force One at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday and participating in a welcoming ceremony, US President Joe Biden toured a Defense Ministry display of Israel’s multi-tier air defence systems.

The display at the airport included a multilayered system capable of intercepting everything from long-range ballistic missiles in space to short-range rockets, from the long-range Arrow and medium-range David’s Sling to the short-range Iron Dome.

It also featured a high-powered laser interception system dubbed Iron Beam, which is still in its developmental stages and is designed to work in tandem with systems like Iron Dome and shoot down smaller projectiles.

Biden was highly impressed by the military’s Iron Dome exhibit, but he was surprised to learn that one of the IDF’s top weapons technicians is a brilliant young man with autism and that Israel incorporates young people with disabilities into its ranks.

“What Biden discovered that in addition to its unmatched defence systems, the Israeli military has another secret weapon — a highly-trained squad of elite soldiers with autism and disabilities,” Special in Uniform said.

One of the IDF soldiers who attended the presidential reception was Akiva Parsoff, a member of JNF-USA’ affiliate program Special in Uniform. Akiva, who is on the autistic spectrum, was inducted into the IDF several years ago in the framework of the military inclusion program, and today serves on the Palmachim Air Force base in the Iron Dome systems where he is currently one of the base’s top technicians in the weapons maintenance centre.

He says that his phenomenal learning abilities, a result of his autism, actually spurred his rise through the military ranks.

“Autism is a gift,” said Akiva, “a gift to the world, and people on the spectrum can offer a lot to the world. That’s why I’m here—to spread this word. I was ecstatic when my commander chose me to represent the unit and exhibit the Iron Dome to President Biden, who is a great friend of Israel.”

Special in Uniform integrates young people with Special Needs into the IDF, and in turn, into Israeli society. The unique program focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant to help them find a job within the IDF that is a perfect fit, based on the belief that everyone belongs and has the right to reach his or her full potential.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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16 Jul 2022, 1:45 am

I hope the US military learns a lesson from this.

Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

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16 Jul 2022, 11:16 am

Meanwhile the US still has a blanket ban on people diagnosed with autism serving in the military while now accepting transgender men and promoting them as generals.
Good for Israel to realize those rights of people with autism to recognize their full potential. Too bad that the Commander and Chief who received this Iron Dome is proven to be an incompetent bumbling brute who puts Ukraine's interests before America's.

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16 Jul 2022, 3:00 pm

Pteranomom wrote:
I hope the US military learns a lesson from this.

Like, make sure when they throw billions of dollars into another country's defence budget, to make sure to get something in return? :scratch:

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