IDF Soldiers and Special Needs Children Celebrate Each Other At Israel Independence Day BBQ

May 11, 2018

2 min read

 On Thursday, April 19, residents, staff and volunteers from the Jerusalem facility of ALEH, Israel’s network of care for children with severe complex disabilities, flocked to the Machane Ofer military base near Givat Ze’ev to host a special barbecue in celebration of Israel’s 70th Independence Day.  But what was intended as an event to honor the dozens of IDF soldiers who volunteer at ALEH throughout the calendar year, turned into a two-way tribute, with the soldiers insisting on partaking in the festivity’s preparation to honor their friends from ALEH.  In the end, a simple barbecue became the ideal of disability inclusion.

(Photo courtesy ALEH)

The festivities included celebratory songs and prayers, dancing, interactive games and delicious food straight from the grill.  Instead of celebrating with their families, the ALEH residents and soldiers exemplified national unity by choosing to mark the day together, shattering societal boundaries in the true spirit of the day.

“Yom Haatzmaut could be celebrated in many different ways, but this has been my most meaningful Independence Day yet,” said Itai, the commander at Machane Ofer, as he addressed the crowd.  “There is no better way to celebrate than to spend time with the children of ALEH and its special volunteers. ALEH teaches us what it means to be truly happy and how to celebrate as one big and united Israeli family.”

The beautiful display of inclusion was further enhanced by the generosity of the Darkeinu shuttle service.  After being turned down by multiple shuttle companies, the ALEH staff and volunteers began to worry that they would not be able to transport the ALEH residents, who are all reliant on wheelchairs and other support equipment, to the event at Machane Ofer.  However, when the owner of the Darkeinu shuttle service heard about the nature of the event, he not only waved the holiday surcharge but offered the company’s services entirely free of charge.

After a fun-filled evening with their IDF friends, the ALEH residents, staff and volunteers headed back to Jerusalem in high spirits.  All in attendance agreed that it was their favorite Yom Haatzmaut experience to date.

(Photo courtesy ALEH)

“While there are so many torches lit throughout the country for Independence Day, there are those who light their torches with the fire of unity and love, a fire that cannot be extinguished,” said Rachely Teller, Community Relations Coordinator at ALEH’s Jerusalem facility. “Only in Israel would an event like this result in both sides insisting on honoring the other.  Only at ALEH can you see soldiers embracing individuals with complex disabilities, treating them like their own brothers and sisters, and going out of their way to make it the most enjoyable and inclusive experience possible.”

To learn more about ALEH, arrange a site visit in Israel, or donate, please visit

Share this article

Donate today to support Israel’s needy







Default Donation Form

Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $100.00


Prophecy from the Bible is revealing itself as we speak. Israel365 News is the only media outlet reporting on it.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter today to get all the most important stories directly to your inbox. See how the latest updates in Jerusalem and the world are connected to the prophecies we read in the Bible. .