A story of persistence: How a Catholic Filipino became an IDF soldier

“I saw how everyone serves in the military, and I also wanted to contribute,” said Corp. Refael.

March 1, 2015 14:30
2 minute read.
Christians in IDF

orporal Aaron Refael is a Catholic who drafted into the IDF. (photo credit: IDF)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Like every Israeli at the age of eighteen, Corporal Aaron Refael drafted into the IDF. However, Aaron is no ordinary Israeli. Today, he serves in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade, but the process to get there was not simple.

Aaron comes from a Catholic family, originally from the Philippines, and his father works as a driver in the Japanese Embassy to Israel. He was born and raised in Herzliya and has always considered Israel his home. Aaron grew up learning about the importance of the IDF, and knew from a very young age that he wanted to take part in defending the country. “I saw how everyone serves in the military, and I also wanted to contribute,” said Corp. Refael.

Due to Aaron’s unique situation, he encountered a number of bureaucratic hurdles on the way to reaching his goal. When he was in third grade, Aaron applied for Israeli citizenship but encountered numerous difficulties along the way. Despite these challenges, Aaron exhibited persistence and determination and received citizenship in 2013.

After obtaining Israeli citizenship, Aaron was not going to allow anything else to prevent him from becoming a combat soldier. When it came time for his Tzav Rishon (initial army interview), he discovered that he had a low medical profile that would not enable him to be a fighter. Aaron continued to fight for his dream and his determination paid off. He was eventually granted permission to become a combat soldier.

Eight months ago, Corp. Aaron Refael joined the Nahal Brigade and his dream finally became a reality. He has just completed advanced training and is now prepared to defend Israel’s borders.

Corporal Refael is the only combat soldier from his group of friends and is proud at how far he has come. He has had no problems integrating in the IDF as a member of a minority group and sees the IDF as an army that understands and caters to the needs of all different walks of life. “Specifically in the army, we see the equal and fair treatment of minorities who come from a variety of different backgrounds,” said Corp. Rafael.

Service in the IDF has proven to Corporal Refael how essential the army is for the State of Israel to exist and to thrive. He has learned the importance of maturity and responsibility that is necessary both as a soldier and as a human being.
sign up to our newsletter

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

May 21, 2019
Christian broadcasting studio attacked by arson on Shabbat morning


Cookie Settings