Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Dawn Hunter

Second Advisor

Dr. Don Cardinal

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Forster

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carlos Lopez


Even though military service in Israel is mandatory and common among the state population, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) veterans with disabilities are rarely represented in the literature regarding their experience in Israeli higher education (HE). This study aimed to fill this gap by investigating the experiences of disabled IDF (DIDF) veteran students, their experiences as students, identities, challenges, and utilization of support resources on their campuses. The relevant fields of Disability Studies, Veteran Studies, and the use of disability support services on campus are discussed in this study, focusing on the implementation of accessibility regulations and practices in the Israeli HE system concerning the target population of DIDF veterans. This dissertation study aimed to understand the perceptions, needs for disability services, and experiences of DIDF-veteran students within the general student population in Israeli HE. This study applied a qualitative method with a small quantitative component. Participants were recruited to respond to an online survey and then were offered to participate in in-depth interviews. The qualitative sample included 13 participants who had a range of disabilities and attended different HE institutions including colleges and universities. They had varied military service backgrounds and educational experiences during undergraduate and graduate studies. All participants were officially recognized as DIDF veterans by the MoD, having a single or multiple disabilities. This population mainly receives rehabilitation and support services from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD), but not necessarily in HE. The interview transcripts were analyzed using an inductive approach. The findings revealed that many of the participants had learning disabilities (LDs) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other impairments or medical conditions on top of their military disability that impacted their ability to function as students. The study findings were displayed first by the four (sub) research questions and then were organized into three major themes: Disability as a Complex Category, Negotiating Disability, Choice of Support. In conclusion, my study calls for a greater awareness of this unique population and its needs in HE, which has the potential to serve as a rehabilitation site for many of them.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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