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Israel Defense Forces: Roim Rachok

(December 2015)

The Roim Rachok program in the IDF was designed to integrate those with special needs, such as autism or other learning disabilities, into the IDF. The initiative, whose name means “Seeing Far” in Hebrew, aims to capitalize on the strengths of these individuals, namely their extreme focus and meticulous attention to detail. Soldiers with autism can easily detect paterns and maintain focus on one item for long periods of time, making them ideal candidates for data analysis and mapping jobs. One out of every one hundred Israeli children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and the Roim Rachok program has 50 participants as of December 2015. These people would have been given frustrating, monotonous jobs in the IDF in the past, but they are now being utilized to their full potential and helping keep Israel safe and secure.

Some Roim Rachok participants are soldiers who serve in combat units, oftentimes as the only person in their unit with a spectrum disorder. Their peers undergo training on working with people with autism and meet weekly with a counselor to discuss the group dynamic.

Source: Ben Sales. “Soldiers with autism take on key roles in IDF,” Times of Israel (December 8, 2015)