What to Know About Michvei Alon
When you first draft into the IDF, if your Hebrew is not at a level where you can immediately join a unit, you will be sent to Michve Alon base for a three month basic training and Ulpan course. It is at Michve Alon that you will begin with three to four weeks of basic training followed by another two months of Hebrew intensive Ulpan. Many say that it is not intense at Michve Alon compared to what it becomes in your respective unit, as it is mainly made up of new immigrants from all over the world who are all a part of a new learning curve and way of life.
The basic training consists of lots of short runs, workouts, learning how to take care of and shoot a gun, Krav Maga, and the other necessities. During this period of training, the days are long, mostly spent outside, and you don’t get much sleep. After this short period, you will take a written Hebrew test and have a short interview with an instructor to determine your placement in Ulpan. The Ulpan classes are 8 hours each day, with short breaks every hour. The standard set by the army is that every person will close Shabbat a minimum of one time during their three months at Michve Alon; however, that number can grow if you mess up in training or with your responsibilities.
Throughout your time at Michve Alon, you will be called for meetings with different administrators and commanders who aim to get to know you better and find out about your character. It is during this time that you will express to them your interest in Yom Sayerot (special forces tryout) or find out more information about the unit where you would want to spend the rest of your service. During the last week at Michve Alon, you will meet with a Katzin Miyun (sorting officer) who will ask for your top five choices for where you want to serve. While many lone soldiers get their first choice, it is not guaranteed and you can ultimately be sent to whichever unit they decide.
Rapid fire tips:
- Always be on time.
- Be serious when you have to, but have fun when you can.
- Eat all the meals. If you skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you lose that meal and cannot get that time back.
- Be a good soldier but don’t be a “goodie goodie.” The commanders will not like you.
- Learn as much Hebrew as you possibly can. It can make or break your army experience.