Israel will always be grateful to the Philippines for opening its doors to Jews during the Holocaust, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
“The Philippines served as a safe haven for Jews during World War II. As Nazi persecution spread throughout Europe, President Manuel Quezon issued 10,000 visas for Jews seeking refuge,” Binay said.
“Eventually only 1,200 Jews made use of the visa, but Quezon’s magnanimity is well-remembered by the Jews,” he added.
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay meets Israeli President Shimon Peres during his courtesy visit at the latter’s Presidential Residence in Jerusalem. He urged ranking Israeli officials to explore new trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines.
He discussed regional developments with Israeli Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He also met with Israeli business groups to reinvigorate the overall Philippines-Israeli trade relations.
Binay also said the Philippines could learn from Israel’s technological advances in agriculture and food production, and make way for its pineapples and coconuts to enter the mainstream Israeli retail market.
Binay also met the Filipino community in Beit Dani, Tel Aviv, attended the inauguration of the Philippine Square at the City of Haifa, and visited Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav in honor of the sister-city relations between Haifa and Manila. Binay received a plaque of appreciation from the government of Haifa City for Quezon’s decision.
Binay also laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem to pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust. He also visited the Open Doors Monument in Rishon Lezzion, which honors the Philippines’ humanitarian act of providing refuge to Jews during the Holocaust. The geometric, seven-meter-high sculpture was designed by Filipino artist Jun Yee Jr.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also unveiled a marker expressing Israel’s gratitude for Quezon’s gesture at a small section of Manila Square across the intersection of Manila and Ivory Coast Streets.
Binay was in Israel to honor an official invitation from the Israeli government and make his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Binay met with President Shimon Peres, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other officials, who all expressed admiration for the country’s impressive economic growth and are eager to expand development assistance and investments to the Philippines.
The Vice President said Israeli investors will be arriving in Manila starting next year to explore business opportunities.#