The IAF and the citizens of Israel have much sympathy for Jewish youngsters deciding to leave their lives abroad and enlist in the IDF. Most of the immigrants are highly motivated to serve and the IDF puts a lot of effort into easing their absorption into the force, Hebrew schools being a great example for that.
“The Hebrew courses are designed for soldiers struggling with Hebrew and lasts three weeks each”, says Sergeant Shira Goldschmidt, commander of the Hebrew course held last February. “We divide the soldiers according to their level of knowledge in Hebrew and split the course into four groups”.
Every day in the course opens with reading the newspapers and topical discussion, continues with reading and writing Hebrew lessons. In addition, the students take enriching lessons involving listening to the radio and learning how to write a letter.
“My presence in their lives is meaningful”
Besides the Hebrew courses, some of airbases have NCO giving private lessons to the soldiers throughout the year. Sargent Mor Polk who serves as an Aliyah (Hebrew for immigration to Israel) NCO in an IAF Airbase.
“I meet the soldiers a few times a week and teach them Hebrew. I’m also helping them to understand the theoretical material they learn in the courses”, she says. “I’m trying to make the explanations in the books more accessible by simplifying the Hebrew. On top of the teaching, I feel like my presence in the student’ lives is meaningful, I can listen and support them”.
Sargent Polk explains that only with strong will can someone make progress and learn a new language.
“The course is intense and difficult, but we have all the tools to help the ones who want to succeed”, she describes. “For example, we make sure everyone speaks Hebrew and don’t let the student ‘slip’ and begin a conversation in their native language. In addition, it is much easier to make progress when everyone is on the same level”. Sargent Polk says that many of the soldiers who graduated from a certain course look forward for the next level course. “At the end of the day, Understanding the language greatly affects the feeling of confidence and affiliation, and a positive change in that field can positively affect many other fields”.