Filipina joins Israeli army unit that saved her granny

PHOTO: REUTERS

Filipina Joana Chris Arpon's unusual journey to becoming one of the few non-Israeli and non-Jewish volunteers in Israel's military began with an earthquake - in the country her parents migrated from. The disaster in 2013 struck a region where Israel-born Ms Arpon had relatives. Amid the chaos, a search and rescue unit of the Israel Defence Forces was dispatched to provide disaster relief, and ended up rescuing her grandmother. "Then I chose to serve in the same unit that saved her," Ms Arpon told Reuters. She has since been honoured by Israel's President as one of the country's most outstanding soldiers. Ms Arpon's service is all the more unusual for the fact that she is not an Israeli citizen - though she hopes to change that. "I hope for myself to be an Israeli ," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'Filipina joins Israeli army unit that saved her granny'. Print Edition | Subscribe