Nachal Chareidi Soldier Meets His Christian Mother


diego-tapiaThe Nachal Haredi Foundation decided to surprise a soldier of the chareidi battalion, Diego Tapia, and flew in his mother and sister to his closing training ceremony that took place this week. Diego, who converted to Judaism and made aliyah, hadn’t seen his Columbian mother over six years.

Diego was born in Columbia 28 years ago to a Catholic family. During his university studies, he was drawn to a spiritual self-quest and started to take interest in various religions. Two specific seforim particularly captivated his attention: the Kuzari and Moreh Nevuchim. Upon reading, Diego started to understand the uniqueness of Yiddishkeit.

One of Diego’s friends explains: “Diego didn’t find the idea of connecting this material world to spirituality in any other religion. Most religions speak of disconnecting from the body and this world for you to link yourself to God. They are too spiritual, and usually address you to meditation and self-contemplation. But the basic creed in Judaism is to connect the temporal and eternal trough actual acts, and that what appealed to Diego.”

And so, Diego decided that Judaism is the right religion and therefore came to study more about it in a yeshiva in Yerushalayim. He converted in a very demanding process that lasted more than 3 years. Today he is an observant Jew. Five and a half years after he crossed the Ben Gurion Airport terminal doors at the age of 28, he decided to join the combat battalion of the Nachal Chareidi.

On Wednesday, he finished his intensive training. The Nachal Chareidi Foundation that established the battalion and escorts it along with the Defense Social Branch of the Ministry of Defense was not satisfied with the fact the all he would be given would be a graduation pin. The foundation decided to fly in his mother, Mercedes, and his sister, whom he hadn’t met since he left behind his previous life.

In less than a day notice, they boarded a flight from Bogotá to Tel Aviv, which lasted 20 hours, so they could stand next to Diego at the ceremony.

One of his commanders went on the stage and gave the cue for the entrance of Columbian retinue. With timid smiles, the mother and her daughter entered the auditorium.

“This brought everyone to tears during this event,” summarized Rabbi David Fuks, one of the rabbis of the Nachal Chareidi Foundation. “It was one of the most breathtaking events of my life.”

Mercedes added: “It’s a feeling of joy. It is a great excitement and a big surprise.”

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. Hakarat Hatov always applies. Why do you have to look at this with a Halakhic mindset? I would also argue with the notion(In his previous life) This is and was his life. He made great personal changes and didnt forget his past totally;Good for him. I am sure this will work out fine. His tough decision has already been made