Google+ Badge

Thursday, 26 January 2012

‘This Is The I.D.F., G’veret Wood!’



With quips about ‘Private Benjamin’ aimed at me and wisecracks about ‘Sergeant Bilko’ chucked back at him, today my husband and I spent time with women soldiers from the Israel Defence Forces Education Corps.

We were among other immigrants living in Karmiel, Lower Galilee, who have settled in Israel via the Nefesh B’Nefesh ‘Go North Project’.

The soldiers were led by a young, gun-toting woman officer whose mother is part of the NBN Go North team. The women we met are English teachers whose students have a chance to complete neglected school studies while serving in the military.

We saw a film describing their work and their students who often come from underprivileged backgrounds and who for various reasons are unable to complete conventional schooling. The education the recruits acquire may also help them to gain employment more easily in civilian life after they leave the army.

We discovered further that some non-Jewish recruits may decide to become Jewish and the army helps them with their conversion course. Also highlighted was the teachers’ work among Ethiopian recruits who are anxious to integrate into mainstream Israeli society.

After the film, we native English=speaking immigrants had a chance to swap notes with the soldiers, relating our experience of learning Hebrew as a foreign language. The event, most appropriately, was held at the local Yad Lebanim (literally ‘Memorial To the Children’) centre. There are many such centres dotted about Israel, dedicated by bereaved families to local young men and women who have died serving in the I.D.F.

Later we enjoyed a guided walk through Karmiel led by the city’s recently appointed official tourist officer.

As my husband has said: Each one (of the women soldiers) is truly an eishet chayil – ‘woman of valour’. The I.D.F. doesn't do princess!”

The website states:

“The Education and Youth Corps mediates between the IDF and the Israeli public. It exhibits to the public the IDF's readiness to invest in national projects, such as instilling various educational values, the integration of new immigrants in the IDF, progression of new communities, and more. Within the Army, the corps teaches the values that the IDF and Israeli society wish the youth to emulate; the tradition and history of the Jewish nation, battle history of the IDF, military unit history, etc.”


Post a Comment