The 60th anniversary of the Philippine-Israel diplomatic ties was celebrated on Nov. 12, 2014 with an outdoor program held at Rishon Lezion, Tel Aviv, Israel, where the Open Doors Monument stands as a symbol of the special relationships between the two countries.
Hosted by the city government of Rishon Lezion led by its Mayor Dov Sur, the auspicious event was organized by Ephesus Travel and Tours represented by its president and general manager Rosemarie S. Galang and the Christian Friends of Magen David Adom –Philippines led by chair Josephine Brobio.
Giving full support was the City’s Foreign Relations Department headed by director Annette Ben-Shabar.
The Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial, Mayor Dov Sur and holocaust survivor Margot Pins Kestenbaum laid the wreaths at the Monument which was launched and unveiled in 2009 during the term of the late Ambassador Antonio Modena, who according to Imperial, came up with the idea for the monument.
“Through this imposing monument, Imperial said: “The story of the Philippines’ Open Doors Policy initiated by President Manuel Quezon is getting known throughout the world.”
During the holocaust in the early days of World War II when the Jews faced persecution, President Quezon lobbied for a permanent Jewish settlement in Mindanao, as well as a working farm in Marikina issuing 30,000 visas to the victims.
Mayor Dov Sur in his speech retold the “darkest of modern times, but one country chose to hold its hand out and welcomed the fleeing Jews from the Nazi terror.”–CONTRIBUTED