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"Encourage them to make a difference" Release date 12.02.2015
Teenagers from "Etgarim" (Hebrew for Challenges) Organization, whose goal is to integrate people with disabilities into society, visited Nevatim Airbase, met with the soldiers and took a closer look at the jets
Shani Poms | Translation: Liran Ackerman

Safeguarding national security is indeed the utmost important task of the IAF, but the different airbases also conduct educational activities and work hard to strengthen community relationships.

Last week, 8th grade students arrived at the Southern Nevatim Airbase as part of a visit arranged by "Etgarim" organization. "Etgarim" is a nonprofit foundation which aims at promoting disabled people using extreme sport and integrating them into society.
"There is not one common denominator between all of the teenagers that arrived here today. Each one, has his own personal story", Said Major A', an aircrew member who has been volunteering with the organization for the past year, in charge of the visit.

The tour began at the "Knights of the Yellow Bird" squadron, where the teenagers first heard of the "Hercules" historical operations such as the airlifting of Ethiopian Jews to Israel and the rescue operation in the 2012 terror act in Burgos, Bulgaria. They also toured the Hardened aircraft shelters, where they took a closer look on the "Hercules". The students also arrived at the "Defenders of the South" squadron and visited one of the control towers of the airbase.
"This is actually the first time the students are meeting with the IAF and the IDF in general", explained Major A'.

The Students Benefit
Although a tour in an operational base of the IAF does not yield immediate results, the future implications are immense. "Organizing such a tour is not a complicated procedure, but the students benefit so much from it. It connects them with the army, the country and Southern Israel", said Major A'. "At the age of 18 they are supposed to enlist in the army. We must not give up on them and encourage them to make a difference and fill important positions in their military service".

For the teenagers, this is much more than a casual tour. "Most of the teenagers here need but one person to believe in them. When we stop everything and spend time with them, it gives them that important feeling", said Colonel Yaron, Deputy Commander of the Airbase who has also taken a break from his busy routine and met with the teenagers. "The planes help to carry out important mission, but behind them there are people. When you have the right people, anything is possible. I hope to meet here again someday".

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Photo by: Shani Poms