|Unveiling of the Open Doors Monument|
On 21 June 2009, the Open Doors monument was finally unveiled by Hon. Joseph H. Durano, Secretary of Tourism, Hon. Michael Eitan, Member of the Knesset and Minister of Improvement of Government Services, and Hon. Dov Zur, Mayor of Rishon Lezion.
Secretary Joseph Durano noted that the monument represented the friendship between both countries and symbolized Jewish perseverance and Filipino dedication in times of crisis. He dedicated the monument to every Israeli and Filipino, saying that “it’s a good day to be a Filipino”.
Minister Michael Eitan said that each of the monument’s three doors symbolized the Philippines’ act of generosity and friendship to Israel. The first door represented the Open Door Policy of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, the second door represented the act of the Philippines in the UN in 1947 when it voted in favor of the creation of the State of Israel, and the third door represented the work of more that 30,000 Filipino caregivers who take care of Israel’s elderly and disabled.
Mr. Max Weissler, one of the Jewish refugees, shared his life as a boy growing up in the Philippines, emphasizing his gratitude for the hospitality of the Filipino people. He thanked everyone who became instrumental in the creation of the monument, particularly the Embassy of the Philippines and the Filipino Community who contributed and raised funds for the endeavor.
Present during the ceremony were some of the survivors who escaped to the Philippines and their families, namely Mrs. Ruth Ephraim, wife of Mr. Frank Ephraim, Mr. Weissler’s family, Mr. Ralph Preiss and family, and Mr. Reuvan Loewenstein, son of George Lowenstein. Ambassador to the State of Israel Ms. Petronila Garcia, officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy, and members of Israeli and Jewish communities also attended the event.
A children’s choir composed of Filipino and Filipino-Israeli children rendered Bou Naamin, an Israeli song about tolerance and understanding by Dr. Varda Granot and lyricist Hamutal Ben-Zeev with Filipino translation by Mike Hanopol.
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