Prime minister awards wings to first special needs Druze IDF soldier

Alongside him is Lieutenant G., a helicopter pilot who is the first Druze to complete an IAF pilot’s course in the history of the State of Israel.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
June 28, 2019 19:33
2 minute read.
Prime minister awards wings to first special needs Druze IDF soldier

Prime Minister meets Tarc Tuba, 23, a Druze with Down’s syndrome who is part of the 'Special in Uniform' initiative. (photo credit: SPECIAL IN UNIFORM)

 
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The most recent graduates of Israeli Air Force’s Flight Course were officially inducted into the IAF and received their wings this week. 

Among the new soldiers is Lieutenant G., a helicopter pilot who is the first Druze to complete an IAF pilot’s course in the history of the State of Israel.

Lieutenant G.’s friends and family were extremely excited and proud to receive the news. “Everyone here is really proud of him. For the past weeks, all the talk in the town has focused on G, and that he’s about to complete the IAF Flight Course.  We’re all bursting with pride. This is a historic moment, a remarkable attainment and feat for our village members and the Druze sector in Israel,” G’s friend told Ynet.

G., was enrolled in a special track for outstanding students at his local high school and is a lover of sports, physical activity, and specifically mountain climbing. His family were his supporters and advocates throughout his years in the flight course, and they all rallied at the event to watch G. receive his wings.

The Wings Parade, which was held on the Hatzerim Air Force Base, marked 50 years to the War of Attrition. The ceremony was attended by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin; Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi; and Air Force Commander Major General Amikam Norkin.

Also in attendance were a group of soldiers with physical and mental disabilities, members of the IDF’s pioneering program ‘Special in Uniform.’ The project is a joint initiative of the IDF, Lend-a-Hand to a Special Child, and JNF-USA. It integrates youth with physical disabilities into the IDF, imbuing them with pride in themselves and their abilities and enabling them to function independently and contribute positively to society.

Among these group of soldiers was Tarc Tuba, 23, a Druze with Down’s syndrome who hails from a village in the Galilee.  Tarc is the first Druze soldier with disabilities to join the IDF, but now he is no longer alone, because just this week, a new 'Special in Uniform' unit opened for volunteer soldiers from Israel’s Druze sector. The new recruits will be incorporated into the logistics department of the Michve Alon Base in the Galilee.

Israeli Druze are a unique religious and ethnic minority among Arab citizens of Israel that comprises less than 2% of the country’s total population. Although their faith originally developed out of Islam, Druze are generally not considered Muslims. Druze devotedly serve in the Israel Defense Forces, and numerous members of the sector have attained senior positions in Israeli politics and public service.



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proudly awarded G. his pilot’s wings, and then promptly invited Tarc and his buddies from Special in Uniform onto stage to award them each a pair of wings of their own—wings of spirit and volunteerism. In an amazing coincidence, the two young men—G. and Tarc, are cousins who hail from the same northern Druze village.

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