Only In Israel – Deaf Hatikva


From Facebook where this was posted with the video:

This Volunteer Soldiers’ Basic Training was extra special because the majority of the soldiers (who are not deaf) asked to be taught to sign the Hatikva national anthem at the closing ceremony (usually only the deaf soldiers and their interpreter sign it). Maybe it will be a precedent, hallevai! We got the story first-hand from our daughter, who loves her miluim (reserve service) in the IDF, interpreting basic training / courses into sign language for deaf soldiers. She can be spotted in the clip on a few occasions (in blue shirt), standing in front of the soldiers and signing.

Update 14 Oct: here is a more detailed description (from the same Facebook post) of the program that allows kids who wouldn’t normally be drafted to spend time with the IDF. I’ve edited a couple of descriptions together.

The Sar-El/Volunteers for Israel program also helps disabled kids who would not normally be drafted spend a day or two on a nearby base, wear the uniforms and help in the kitchens, etc., usually with volunteers. 

I asked about this when I noticed a couple of Downs Syndrome kids and one in a wheelchair on my base. Knowing that high-school age kids are not always gentle, I made sure to keep an eye on these kids and was so touched by the kindness shown to them by the soldiers: stopping to chat, giving them a hug or a cold drink, helping the kid in the wheelchair with his tray in the crowded mess hall.

The volunteers in the clip are not Sar-El volunteers. For anyone who might be new to how it works in Israel , here’s a little background about these volunteers.

Although the draft is compulsory for Israeli youngsters at 18, a number of them are not drafted into the IDF for various health reasons and many of these then insist on volunteering. Some are clearly physically handicapped, some are deaf or blind, others might have limitations or suffer from medical conditions that aren’t evident to laymen.

The basic training for volunteers is always inspirational for all involved as these soldiers have chosen to serve, and that means serving the full 3 years (or 2 for women) like all their counterparts, even though they were officially released from doing so.

Sometimes, they even have to put up a huge fight to persuade the Army to accept them as volunteers! Once in the IDF, the sky is the limit for them for any position that their handicap does not prevent them from pursuing, so they can have most meaningful positions in intelligence, for example.

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