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Israeli army and Noa Kirel: the teen pop star wears a uniform

But for the foreseeable future, every interview with the media, every public appearance, every television recording and photo shoot must be closely coordinated with the Israeli army.

Kirel, 19, was drafted into the army six months ago under Israel’s compulsory conscription law. And as the pop teen superstardom meets military compliance, it is proving a challenge for the wildly popular singer – who can’t walk the street without being attacked by fans – as well as the army.


7;s not easy, but there is something very authentic about it,” Kirel said during an interview at his family’s home.

When she rushed into the room, with long straight hair, bright blue eyes and an impeccable complexion, she was immediately charismatic and immediately disturbed by her manager, publicist and mother. There were also two soldiers in charge of monitoring and clarifying his comments.

By the time she served, Noa, as she is affectionately known by her fans, has already sparked a handful of controversy. In February, the day of its drafting, a shocking relationship in which the recruits separate from their parents, the paparazzi were there in full fledged contention for a uniformed photo of him.

After a month of basic training, which Kirel said she liked because she was tidied around like any other recruit and forced to do “normal” chores like cleaning the bathrooms, she was placed on the “talent track” , she was allowed to train her own music to act and sent to perform for the troops. In no time, however, a short video clip of his way of singing with two male support dancers dressed in military fatigue and heavy combat boots went viral, provoking ridicule and criticism on social media. The backlash caused the army to cancel all military dance roles.

More recently, a commercial for a cable TV company with Kirel in the US military labors that sang “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical “Hair” made some at the top of the army uncomfortable at the sight of a soldier on duty. in a foreign uniform performing in a video inspired by the movement against the war of the 60s.

“The Israeli army has always enrolled soldiers of all backgrounds and with all kinds of needs and talents, including famous people,” said a senior officer of the army’s workforce management, who could not be named according to the military protocol. . “It’s a challenge to have Noa, but the army’s goal is to draw everyone and find them a place where they can serve Israel in their own way.”

Most Israelis are enrolled in the army at age 18, with the exception of most Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish citizens, and while the army has absorbed celebrities in ranks earlier – think of the “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot, who was already crowned Miss Israel before her service – didn’t address anyone on this scale.

A recent article in Billboard magazine compared Kirel’s situation to that of Elvis Presley, who was called to serve in the United States Army even when it was at the height of his success in 1958.

For Kirel, who during the contractual negotiations had to inform Atlantic Records that she would join the army for two years, performing her military service was never a problem – even though she could have obtained an exemption for health reasons because she had only one kidney.

“I felt that because I was famous, I had to serve to set an example for others,” Kirel said. “I know that people abroad probably won’t understand it, they won’t understand why I put everything on hold, but it was clear to me that I had to do it.”

Roberto Ben Shoshan, manager of Noa, said that dividing the time between his job and his military duties has an impact on his career, “but he is doing something that is very important for her.”

Dan Arav, dean of media studies at Rishon LeZion’s College of Management Academic Studies, said it was mutually beneficial when a huge star enlisted in the army. “The army always tries to project a positive image. It is part of their marketing tactics and for those who join the army, they want to tell themselves that they are doing something significant, “he said.

During Israel’s early years, the army was “the primary platform for stimulating the career of young rising stars,” said Raz Shechnik, who writes about culture and media for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. He said almost all of Israel’s iconic musicians started in one of the army bands. But in the late 1970s, the army had found the musical formations useless and everything except the orchestra had been disbanded.

Some young Israeli celebrities started looking for ways out of the army because they interfered with their careers, especially the supermodel Bar Refaeli, and many faced harsh public criticism for stealing a duty that many Israelis consider an important responsibility.

More recently, the army has been looking for ways to welcome celebrities, Shechnik said, for example by offering Kirel and her pop boyfriend Yonatan Margi a way to maintain their fame, maintain their privacy and serve like others in the their age.

The army has yet to find a solution, however, for the growing number of teenagers who have become stars on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Anna Zak, a model with over 1 million followers on Instagram, and Gal Gvarm, with over 350,000 followers on Instagram and 60,000 fans on TikTok, are good examples.

Both serve but are not on track. Instead, Zak was considered an “active artist” and put to work in the army introduction center, her famous face regularly used for public service messages and Gvarm was placed in an administrative position in the army headquarters. , giving her time to post to her followers.

“People aren’t accepted on the talent track just because they’re popular on social media,” said the Army workforce officer interviewed by The Post. “But we’re sensitive to their careers while I’m in the army.”

For Kirel, despite the challenges, he welcomes his new role.

“Obviously, I perform in much smaller venues and in front of a much smaller audience than I’m used to, but I’m there with the soldiers and we all wear the same uniform. It’s very significant to me, “he said.

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