PH-Israel connection: A lookback on decades of friendship, ties

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2018 09:58 PM

MANILA - Israel and the Philippines have a long history of cooperation and diplomatic ties, which started during World War 2.

Israel views its ties with the Philippines as special as the latter provided refuge to around 1,300 Jews who escaped the Holocaust. The Philippines also cast a crucial vote in a United Nations (UN) resolution that led to the creation of the Jewish state.

The Philippines, under President Manuel L. Quezon, reinforced the Commonwealth government’s open-door policy to accommodate Jews who fled Europe from 1935 to 1941.

"We will never forget how President Manuel Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe during the Holocaust," Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz said.

The Open Doors Monument was erected in Rishon Lezion to recognize the friendship and relations between the two countries.

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In 1947, the Philippines, under the administration of President Manuel Roxas, cast the tie-breaker vote at the UN to separate Israel from Palestine. It was the only Asian country to support the creation of the state of Israel.

The two countries established diplomatic ties 10 years later in 1957.

In 2015, the Israel Embassy launched a year-long "Thank you, Philippines" campaign top show the nation's gratitude to Filipinos.

Israel is also home to some 28,000 Filipinos, mostly working as caregivers.

"Israel has a great deal of admiration for the approximately 30,000 Filipino caregivers who are working in Israel and who have become an integral, cherished and respected part of Israeli society," Harpaz said.

President Rodrigo Duterte is currently in Israel for a four-day official visit. He is the first sitting Filipino president to set foot in the Jewish state since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1957.

Duterte is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

The President is also expected to tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Open Doors monument. 

Duterte will also visit an Israeli military base to view advanced weapons and equipment.