Thanks to a new project initiated by the army, hundreds of teenagers who in the past were exempt from military service because of their medical condition will now have the opportunity to serve in a variety of posts.
The Profile 35 project will offer teenagers the chance to serve in the army , if their conditions are stable and under control, Lt.-Col. Arnon Afek head of the Medical Corp's medical selection branch told The Jerusalem Post.
Afek warned that the project will take some time before it is actually implemented as it has yet to be authorized by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and undergo legislation in the Knesset.
"I hope that by the end of this year, those who were exempt in the past will be recruited," he said. Up until now, anyone with a medical profile lower than 21 is barred from military service.
"The Israel Defense Forces is the people's army, and by lifting certain restrictions, we will be offering a sector of the population a chance to fulfill their obligations like any other citizen," he said.
Opening up the military ranks will not only serve to increase motivation but will help to promote dialogue among the different population sectors, said Afek.
Citing an example, Afek said Profile 35 will allow teenagers suffering from diabetes who in the past were exempt from military service the chance to join the army, if their condition is considered stable and controlled.
"It depends on the extent of the illness and how well a person can function in the military framework without endangering their lives," he said. "We have to be responsible, and very cautious, all those who want to be inducted will be carefully screened."
In preparing the project, the army consulted with top medical officials in order to ensure that the necessary guidelines are adhered to regarding the medical conditions of future inductees, he said.
Another breakthrough already being implemented by the army has been to allow soldiers who suffer from certain medical conditions the chance to serve in combat support and combat units.