This article was first published by The Times of Israel and is re-posted with permission.
In the arid Negev desert, in the southern city of Ofakim, there is an oasis featuring water trickling over pebbles, patches of shaded green grass and walkways, Japanese hanging gardens, and a cluster of low-rise buildings. It is the ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran 2007 center, which provides therapeutic, medical and educational services to children and adults who have devastating physical and cognitive disabilities.
The center was set up through the vision and determination of Maj. Gen. (res) Doron Almog, among the most celebrated figures in the history of the Israel Defense Forces. Almog helped lead the famed Israeli hostage rescue at Entebbe in 1976 and for years after, as head of the IDF’s Southern Command, foiled countless attempts to launch terror attacks in Israel.
His son Eran, named after Almog’s brother who died on the battlefield during the Yom Kippur War, was diagnosed with severe autism and developmental disabilities. That is what spurred Almog to set up ALEH Negev, to cater for the needs of people like his son, who died 12 years ago at the age of 23.
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