doron almog 298.88.
(photo credit: IDF)
Representatives of Aleh, which provides residential and rehabilitative facilities for mentally and physically disabled adults and children in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that it was seriously considering renaming its newly built Negev village after the deceased son of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog.
Eran, Almog's 23-year-old son, who died this week of complications of a rare non-cancerous disorder, was the inspiration for the non-profit organization's 100-dunam village, housing 250 residents, located between the Merhavim junction and the development town of Ofakim.
"Eran was a catalyst for the whole project," Sarah Herskowitz, director of public relations for Aleh, told the Post. "His death is very heartbreaking for all of us, and over the last few years we have been working with Doron to establish this facility."
Almog was in the United States raising funds for the center, which was inaugurated in June, when Eran, who suffered from severe mental retardation and autism, succumbed to Castleman's Disease on Wednesday. Almog returned to Israel Thursday and will bury his son at the Rishon Lezion cemetery Friday afternoon.
"Doron and Didi [Almog] were very open about the situation with their son and provided great encouragement to other parents," said Herskowitz. "They gave their whole lives to this village and Eran only lived there for a few months. We want to name the entire village after Eran."
Herskowitz said she believed that Almog would continue to be dedicated to Aleh and its mission of providing services to Israel's mentally and physically disabled population.
During an interview with the Post last June, Almog said that Eran had been named after his brother who had lost his life during the Yom Kippur War and highlighted that, as an army officer, his son had put him in touch with his sensitive side.
"Born on January 6 1984, we expected Eran to fulfill every Jewish parent's dream: to be smart, intelligent, brave, beautiful, successful, but he has never even called me father," said the former general. "However, he is one of the most influential persons in my life; his shouting silence has taught me how to feel."
He continued: "I vowed never to leave a wounded soldier in a field, and with my son, I have found myself in the same position. We can improve the quality of their [the mentally and physically disabled] lives. We can do something good on behalf of the purest, most innocent people in the world who never did anyone any harm."
Aleh was founded 20 years ago by Rabbi Eliezer Fishoff, whose own child became severely brain damaged after a bout of meningitis. Fishoff, together with five other families from Bnei Brak, sought a solution for their children that would take them out of state-run hospitals and give them a better chance at life.
There are currently close to 400 children nationwide residing at one of the three other Aleh campuses in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem and Gadera.