Interior Minister Moshe Arbel instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to grant citizenship to the Philippines-born parents of fallen soldier Cedrick Garin, he told Hebrew media outlets on Sunday.
Arbel delivered the news to Imelda and Rico, the slain IDF reservists’ parents, during a bereavement visit on Sunday, and told them his ministry would sort out the question of citizenship immediately, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
Imelda raised Cedrick in Israel alone while working as a cleaner after his father was deported when he was two, and the fallen soldier gained Israeli citizenship after completing his IDF service. Imelda, however, currently holds the status of temporary resident.
“Cedrick’s parents sacrificed that which was most precious to them for the country, and we need to be by their side at this time,” Arbel told Haaretz on Sunday. “There is much weight to the issue of status and citizenship, but it’s important to remember that also temporary residents have rights like national insurance and the ability to work.”
During his last year of high school, Cedrick dropped out and got in trouble with the law, before later turning his life around and fighting to enlist in a combat position in the IDF and serve his adopted country.
Cedrick’s wife, Daniela, told Kan that he was “one of those pure kids who get caught in bad situations,” and that he decided to make a change in his life because he felt he was disappointing his mother.
Toward the end of his service in 2021, he earned a certificate of distinction from the head of the IDF’s Southern Command for his service.
Daniela, also the child of Filipino migrants, recounted that even after Cedrick’s military service and the recognition of his exemplary contribution, “he thought the country would finally see him… but he had to fight also for his citizenship. He was very disappointed by the state.”
Cedrick was a loving son to Imelda, his loved ones said at his funeral on Thursday. His ultimate goal was to be able to provide financially for her so that she could stop working, they noted, adding that he was happily married and was looking forward to one day becoming a father.
“He wanted kids from a young age,” Daniela told Kan on Sunday. “He would say to me ‘Don’t worry, go out and have fun. I’ll build you a home with lots of joy,'” she recalled, noting that they wanted to “build a home in Israel, in our country — this is our home, we don’t have anything else.”
She also told Kan that during the whole time he was serving in the reserves over the past three months, Cedrick only came home once, surprising her on her birthday.
“He came home last week to surprise me with a bouquet of flowers that is refusing to wilt,” she said. “I never begged him to stay home, but this time I did. I felt like I needed him for one more day, and he moved mountains to stay with me for an extra day.”
Cedrick was one of 21 soldiers who were killed last week after an RPG attack triggered a blast that collapsed two buildings with soldiers inside them. The incident made that day the deadliest for IDF troops since it launched a ground operation in Gaza.
He was laid to rest last week in Tel Aviv’s Givat Shaul military cemetery.
Maya Zanger-Nadis contributed to this report.