Twelve girls are currently volunteering at schools, hospitals, and other institutions as part of their national service, thanks to the Shlomit Foundation, a national service placement organization.
Jessica Hashem, an 18-year-old resident of Ma’alot, and daughter of two former SLA members, has been volunteering in the pediatric unit of a Nahariya hospital for the past month. “It is very gratifying,” Hashem said of her service.
“At first I thought of enlisting in the IDF, but my parents refused. My father said it was bad enough that the country stabbed them in the back, and he didn’t want the same thing happening to me.
“I decided that with the motivation I had, I had to do something, so I decided to volunteer in something close to my heart; children and medicine. I was received very well at the unit.,” Hashem explained.
“I don’t feel like I have much to give back to the country, since I see my parents suffering,” she added, “But on the other hand, why should I pass up the opportunity to contribute and help children? If I happen to get recognition from the state while I’m at it, then why not?”
'I have a problem with the government'
Nicole Luka, also an 18-year-old resident of Ma’alot, originally wanted to enlist in the IDF's intelligence unit, but was refused by the army. Nowadays she volunteers at a school, helping children from grades one to six.
“My parents were ok with me enlisting, but the army said it was impossible. I have an Israeli citizenship and I think its time for me to give something too.
“I have a problem with the government, but I have nothing against the Israelis and the community. On the contrary, it was the Israelis who helped us at demonstrations, and who supported our struggle,” Luka said.
“There’s a huge debate amongst former SLA members about whether or not we should volunteer,” she explained.
“There are those who ask why they should serve again and contribute after all we’ve done for the State of Israel. They say our parents had done enough and were given nothing. And there are those who say, we’re living here so we might as well contribute to society.”