Hearing-Impaired Program

The Rita & Burt Tansky - IDF Hearing-Impaired Program

According to Israel Deaf Association and the Central Bureau of Statistics:
Among those aged 18 and over: there are approximately 10,000 profoundly deaf people alone, as well as an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 hard of hearing individuals. 
The Rita & Burt Tansky -IDF Hearing-Impaired Program is part of Special in Uniform with a vision that the deaf and hard-of-hearing young Israelis become successful, well-integrated citizens and to live independent and productive lives. This will benefit not only the Deaf community, but also Israeli society as a whole.

The challenge

Young adults who have Hearing-Impairments are normally excluded from Israel’s conscription and the only option for them to serve is to volunteer, the challenge is that the most deaf and hard of hearing individuals find it difficult to follow lectures, talk to fellow soldiers, communicate effectively with the commanders and advocate for their rights. They often feel isolated from their non-signing peers, and don’t always understand the workings of Army life. As a result, many simply give up on the dream of serving the Army and probably will lead to a life-long sentence of low-paying jobs or claiming government benefits. This affects not only the self-esteem of the deaf person, but also prevents them from contributing to Israeli society and causes hearing society to look down on them and think them incapable of success.

Some typical soldiers have parents with Hearing-Impairments and at many IDF ceremonies there is no sign language interpreter standing next to the stage on a platform or elevated position interpreting the ceremonies for the soldiers’ families.

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The solution:

The Rita & Burt Tansky -IDF Hearing-Impaired Program plans to eliminate the barriers deaf soldiers must face due to their hearing loss, through support, advocacy and an interpreter.
In order to achieve these goals, we focus on 3 major areas:
1) Offer Sign language interpreters to Hearing-Impaired soldiers.
2) Offer classes to teach Sign language to soldiers and commanders.
3) Provide Sign language interpreter to IDF ceremonies
Some typical soldiers have parents with Hearing-Impairments and at many IDF ceremonies there is no sign language interpreter standing next to the stage on a platform or elevated position interpreting the ceremonies for the soldiers’ families.

success stories:

Y, one of the first soldiers in the Tanski Program, was conscripted and served as a regular soldier, and decided to advance in the army, and to go one more step forward and to apply for the officers course.

The big problem facing Y was how to pass the courses to understand the studies and the lectures, since it is a difficult process and the army expects from the officers the utmost excellence.

Thanks to the Tanski Program and a personal translator, Y achieved the impossible and successfully graduated from the officers‘ course, and he is the first deaf officer in the IDF.


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Now Y leads a course for sign language for his unit. Y will organize the course and will teach his comrades together with teachers of the Tanski Program a basic course in sign language.

This week the president of the State of Israel awarded certificates of distinction to distinguished soldiers. The female and male soldiers are meticulously chosen by their commanding officers and they recommend them to receive the distinction award by the president.

The IDF published the personal profile of each and every one of the soldiers and his story. One of the distinguished soldiers is a soldier by the name of Eyal Fink from the city of Rishon LeZion.

His story:

“I am hearing impaired and have implants in both of my ears. I was conscripted as a volunteer in the field of computers after I have studied the subject in high-school. I came to the southern command as a technician for networks and information systems. And all the time I pass examinations in order to advance in my job. I invest a lot of effort in order to succeed, and I excel in my job. Due to the language impairment and the disability I work even harder, and I deeply believe in mutual assistance and contribution to the country.

I was deeply moved when during the basic training there were sign language translators who sang the “Hatikva” (Israel’s national anthem) in sign language. This was a very good experience which introduced me to the service in a very positive atmosphere. In spite of the basic training being in a very tough and stormy winter, the IDF did everything for us and I enjoyed it and was very much surprised.”

In spite of the Coronavirus we continue to develop the program, and hope to share with you more wonderful stories which the program promotes. The use of face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic makes it much more difficult for the population of hearing impaired and deaf to understand what is said, as in the past they were accustomed to reading lips. Due to these circumstances the company “Tradis Gat” which markets in Israel advanced medical equipment and hearing implants, has answered the call of hearing impaired and deaf people and presented an innovation called “Clear Mask”. The innovation is that the transparent face mask enables lip reading while preventing condensation accumulating on the mask. And therefore, facial expressions can also be seen.

Hearing-Impaired Program

Hearing-Impaired Program

The song of hope In sign language

The song of hope In sign language