Israeli pop star puts career on hold to join IDF

Noa Kirel will sing for the troops instead of going on lucrative tours and acting on TV.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

It’s not something seen in many countries – if any. An up-and-coming music sensation puts her career on hold to join the army.

But Noa Kirel, one of Israel’s youngest singing stars, did just that. She reported to the IDF draft office on Sunday for her two-year stretch of duty.

Unlike many other Israelis of her age who have made it big in the music, acting or modeling worlds at a young age and found a way to avoid the draft, Kirel was happy to become a soldier.

“I haven’t slept all night, I was so excited,” she told the Pnai Plus website. “It’s something I always wanted. I have a strong military past, my grandfather, my father. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d be drafted or not, because I have a kidney problem…but we did retests…. I want to serve as an example for boys and girls to enlist. It was very important to me.”

Kirel had been diagnosed with a serious kidney illness when she was just three months old. According to her Wikipedia page, a rabbi told her parents to change her name from Noya to Noa, so that she would be able to move (“lanua” in Hebrew) as she grew, and predicted that she would become a dancer.

Kirel is much more than a dancer today. Bursting onto Israel’s music scene at age 14 with a provocative music video that gave her country-wide exposure, she already has three seasons under her belt starring in a children’s television series that is loosely autobiographical.

The beautiful 18-year-old has a huge fan base (especially among young girls), with 700,000 Instagram followers, and her performances around the country sell out quickly.

She is also known outside of Israel, having won MTV Europe Music Awards for best Israeli act both in 2017 and 2019.

The youngest singer to have a single played on the IDF’s radio station, Galgalatz, will now be performing live for the troops in her own army band, after undergoing a symbolic three weeks of basic training.

In an interview last year with Haaretz, the star, who was called “Israel’s new Britney Spears,” was asked why she was going to go to the army. She answered, “It’s good to have something normal too, something to balance things out. It’s not something I’m willing to pass up. We’ll do it the right way, so it won’t hurt my career.”

The Army has issued strict guidance regarding how soldiers are to behave on the base in her company. One rule: no pictures.