Israel opens monument for RP

Israel has opened a monument in honor of the Philippines, which declared an open door policy for Jews during the Second World War.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano witnessed the unveiling of the Open Doors monument at the Rishon Lezion Memorial Park in Israel on June 21.

“This monument commemorates the Philippines’ selfless efforts in opening the country for thousands of Jews, where they found a safe haven during a difficult period in their history. It is indeed an honour to remember this strong connection, at a time when the world is faced with a lot uncertainty and challenges,” said Durano.

Also present in the historical unveiling was Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque, Jr., who said the warm hospitality of the Filipino people undoubtedly shed light on one of the Jewish people’s most trying times.

Reinforcing President Quezon’s open door policy were provisions for housing in Marikina in 1939, and an allotment for a farm and large settlement area in Mindanao for the Jewish refugees before the outbreak of World War II.

Such episodes were documented in a book Escape to Manila by Frank Ephraim, a Holocaust survivor. Four years ago, this book inspired the creation of the Open Doors monument through the initiative of the late Ambassador to Israel Antonio Modena, who died in Manila in February 2007.

Ephraim wrote, “The Philippines held out a promise of a safe haven from Nazi oppression, offering survival from mass murder of the Jewish people in Europe.”

The monument, showing modern conceptual doors, was designed by acclaimed Filipino artist Jun Yee. According to Yee, “The rising design of the open doors represents ‘soaring in triumph.’ One cannot imagine a more fitting symbol for this occasion than the Open Doors, dramatically and contemporarily designed.”

Philippine marble tiles from Romblon were used for the monument, along with metal sheets and reinforced concrete for the base.

“The marble tiles coming from the island of Romblon, the heartland of our country, symbolize our country’s part in Israel’s story. The Jewish community in the Philippines and in other parts of the world also supported this initiative, and it is heartening to know that our friendship with the Jewish people have emerged stronger,” said Jarque.

Press Release from DOT

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