Two months before she put on her uniform for the first time, Pvt. Ori had already been to the base where she would eventually serve several times. “I went to the base to study it,” she explains. “My cane can only tell me where obstacles are – it doesn’t guide me. It was really frustrating. It was hot and I had to walk the same route over and over again so many times, but my desire to enlist gave me the energy to do it. I always insisted on being independent on base, so I wouldn’t need help.”
Pvt. Ori was born blind, but she never let that stop her. She attended a regular high school, took matriculation exams, went on annual trips with her classmates, and even took part in a trip to Poland. “When others see me going about my day like everyone else and that I don’t feel sorry for myself, then they treat me like an equal,” she says.
Therefore, enlisting to the IDF with the rest of her classmates was only natural for her, and for everyone who knew her. “My friends enlisted to the IDF and it was obvious to them that I would enlist too. I’ll have a regular service like everyone else,” she says.
“There are people who tell me that I could’ve easily avoided serving, and that I didn’t have to volunteer to serve, but I have no doubt that I did the right thing. I grew up with brothers who were combat soldiers, who never stopped talking about their experiences in the IDF. I always wanted to enlist – to give back to the country and at the same time to develop my independence and myself. I really feel like I did the right thing,” she says.
“I enlisted to be an Education NCO. I am going to give tours and lead workshops for soldiers about values.” The values that are most important to her to emphasize are equality and tolerance. “When I was in high school, I took part in a radio show and it was only at the end that I told the listeners that I was blind. I wish that in real life, like on the radio, we got to know people according to who they are, not their looks or whether they have a cane or not.”