On the occasion of Israel’s 69th Independence Day, Staff Sergeant Joana Chris Arpon was among 120 young soldiers recognized by President Reuven Rivlin for their distinguished army service. Thanks to Arpon’s voluntary service, both she and her mother will be granted Israeli citizenship later this year.
Arpon’s mother came to Israel in 1988 to work as a nanny, and remained here to raise her own children after her husband had left the country. Born in Israel, Joana always felt part of the Jewish State. Whereas many Filipinos live grouped together in Israel’s major cities, Joana resided with her mother and older brother on a moshav in the center of the country. Joana and her brother were the only Filipino students at their high school in Rishon LeTzion. As a rule, Filipinos are permitted to live in Israel only as foreign workers. But Joana and her brother are two of the hundreds of locally-born foreign children for whom the government, under a temporary program that has now ended, provided permanent residency in...
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