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February 12, 2020 2:56 pm

Israeli Teen Pop Star Puts Career on Hold to Serve in IDF

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Noa Kirel. Photo: IDF.

Israeli pop singer Noa Kirel has put her blossoming career on hold to enlist in the IDF.

“I influence many young teenagers and it’s important for me to encourage them to enlist as well,” the 18-year-old, who starts IDF basic training on Feb. 17, told Billboard about complying with mandatory military conscription in Israel. “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.”

Kirel first emerged onto the music scene in 2015 through YouTube, where she posted videos of herself singing. She went on to top Israel’s radio charts, has won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Israeli Act three consecutive times since 2017 and starred in her own TV series.

The teen has also served as a judge on “Israel’s Got Talent” since the age of 16, making her the youngest judge ever on the show.

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Kirel will be required to serve two years in the army under Israeli law. The singer was born with unilateral renal agenesis, leaving her with only one kidney, and could have appealed to the IDF medical board for an exemption from military service, but she did not hesitate to enlist.

“There was never a doubt in my mind,” she said. “My father and grandfather both served in significant roles, and even if my medical condition would’ve prevented recruitment, I would volunteer.”

The IDF will accommodate the singer, with Kirel explaining, “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. 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.”

An IDF spokesperson told Billboard, “Noa Kirel is set to start her service in the army’s Education Corps in a talent capacity, created by the IDF to allow extraordinary artists to serve in accordance with their needs while requiring them to benefit the army with their abilities. Noa sets an example for youth with her enlistment and contribution to the country.”

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