(Tel Aviv, Jan. 14, 2020)--The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the B'nai B'rith World Center-Jerusalem, will be holding "Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines," a commemorative event to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Jan. 27 at the Balai Quezon. Ambassador of the Philippines to Israel Neal Imperial will deliver opening remarks.
The event, which focuses on Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's landmark "Open Doors Policy" offering safe haven in the Philippines to Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, will feature a panel discussion with Imperial and Professor Robert Rockaway of Tel Aviv University, as well as screenings of excerpts from ABS-CBN iWANT documentary “The Last Manilaners” and Star Cinema's feature film on Quezon's decision to accept Jewish refugees, “Quezon's Game.”
Max Weissler and Margot Pins Kestenbaum, the two "Manilaners" still living in Israel, will attend the event as special guests.
From 1937 to 1941, Quezon extended visas to Jewish refugees who sought to escape the growing terror of the Holocaust in Europe. This policy, which came to be known as the "Open Doors Policy," led to the entry of close to 1,300 Jewish refugees to the Philippines, where they settled in Manila - leading them to refer to themselves, fondly, as "Manilaners.” This little-known part of the shared history between Filipinos and the Jewish people was first brought to light in Frank Ephraim's book “Escape to Manila” and has since become the foundation of bilateral relations between the Philippines and the State of Israel.
Balai Quezon, the Philippine Embassy's cultural center, was inaugurated in 2019 to build awareness of Quezon's policy and its impact on Philippine-Israel relations.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org