In a landmark step, fifty-three autistic soldiers with high functioning autism were inducted into Israel Defense Force (IDF) this week. Before this, autistic people were only able to join the volunteer programs of the nation’s military.
The new recruits spent months making the preparations for their induction. These included working alongside experts to make necessary changes to their uniforms and customizing the training and mentoring programs to suit their needs.
As the world of technology has started recognizing the benefits brought in by a neurodiverse workforce, the IDF believes these new autistic soldiers can prove great assets to the organization in fields like cybersecurity, quality assurance, and system development among other disciplines.
The military service also conveyed to the local media that this was only the first batch of people on the autism spectrum it has recruited. The second batch of fifty is expected to be inducted in December. There are plans to recruit 350 autistic personnel in the defense forces next year. From the following year, the IDF plans on making annual recruitment of at least 500 neurodiverse candidates. At the same time, military service is not obligatory for people with autism, as it is for other Israelis, the organization clarified.