Experiences, Identity, and Adaptation Among Children of Migrant Laborers in Compulsory Military Service in the Israel Defense Forces

Uzi Ben-Shalom, Deby Babis, Galia Sabar, Anabel Lifszyc Friedlander, Corinne Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current research addresses the experiences and adaptation of children of migrant laborers who serve in Israeli compulsory military service. The first stage of the research comprised in-depth interviews with 20 soldiers to understand their narrative of being in the military. Despite having no role model for military service in their families, the narratives of the soldiers present a “native” Israeli view of the military. They were highly motivated to complete the service, perceived themselves as Israelis, and accepted the arduous demands of the military. In the second stage of the research, we collected questionnaires from 154 soldiers and compared them with 591 soldiers who immigrated from the former Soviet Union two decades ago. The comparison revealed highly adapted soldiers who perceived the military system as indifferent to their origin. At the same time, these soldiers seem to be restricted to certain roles and seldom hold officer or academic positions. The article speculates that this group of migrants is highly adapted because of their unique life experiences and individual maturity, personal gain from the military, and self-selection for enlistment. The military system should support this group to integrate into command and academic positions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • IDF
  • Identity
  • Israel
  • Migrant laborers
  • Military service
  • Second generation

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