Many of you would not have heard of her, but Noa Kirel is to be commended for understanding what it is to be a true role model.
To comply with mandatory military conscription in Israel, which is traditionally considered a rite of passage after graduating high school, Kirel, 18, enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces last week and starts basic training on Feb. 17.
Kirel first emerged as a YouTube singing sensation in 2015, and her hits, infusing sultry Hebrew dance music with western mainstream pop, soon went to the top of Israel’s radio charts. Since 2017 she has won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Israeli Act three consecutive times, starred in her own TV series on the Kidz channel (going on its fifth season) and has served as a judge on Israel’s Got Talent since the age of 16; she is the youngest-ever judge on the Simon Cowell-created talent competition franchise.
But when called for duty at the height of her career, Kirel didn’t hesitate to take a professional detour, she tells Billboard, even with a serious medical condition to consider.
Kirel was born with unilateral renal agenesis, meaning she has one kidney, and she could have tried to avoid army service by appealing to the IDF medical board.
“There was never a doubt in my mind,” she says. “My father and grandfather both served in significant roles, and even if my medical condition would’ve prevented recruitment, I would volunteer.
“Ultimately, I fought for this,” Kirel continues. “I influence many young teenagers and it’s important for me to encourage them to enlist as well. I’m fortunate to experience many exciting things in my career, but the army connects me to my people. I’m about to go through something powerful, like every other girl my age, and I wasn’t about to give that up.”
“My duty will be to perform in uniform and entertain troops all over the country, in the forefront, on the borders, do what I’m good at,” she explains. “The Israeli army is much more considerate and supportive toward artists nowadays, not to be taken for granted. They’re allowing me to contribute the best way I can.
Kol hakavod Noa!