The relations between Israel and the Philippines are founded upon two events that were morally and politically significant for the Israeli and Philippine peoples.
The first event was the decision made by Manuel L. Quezon, the President of the Philippines at the time, to open his country's gates to Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria on the eve of WWII, which stood in stark contrast to the conduct of the "enlightened" nations during that period.
The second event was that the Philippines was the only Asian country to vote in favor of Israel at the United Nations on November 29, 1947 during the historic decision that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the recognition thereof by the family of nations.
This friendly relationship is also related to the fact that Israel is the Holy Land and the land of the Bible, which greatly affects the Philippine people. According to a study conducted by the Anti-defamation League, the Philippines is one of the only countries in the world that has virtually no anti-Semitism, a fact that is in line with the two countries' joint history.
Israel has a significant Filipino population, whose contribution to the welfare for incurable patients and the disabled is greatly appreciated. Against the background of this appreciation, a Filipino nursing worker won Israel's "X-Factor" competition in 2014, creating waves of support for Israel as an open and tolerant society.
In support of their special relationship, Israel was the first country to provide aid to the Philippines in late 2014 as it was faced with disaster in the wake of the strongest typhoon in history and the Philippines' gratitude was felt throughout Filipino society. Israel and the Philippines cooperate in the realm of infra structural development, mainly in the field of agriculture. Some 3,000 people participated in educational training programs in various fields in Israel, run by Mashav — the Center for International Cooperation, and thousands of Filipino agriculture students have come to Israel in recent years to participate in a year-long training program.
The Philippines' rapid development makes it a promising partner for diverse economic cooperation to the benefit of our two Nations.
Effie Ben Matityau
Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines
The Open Doors Monument is located at the center of the Memorial Garden in the city of Rishon LeZion. It was dedicated in 2007 and marks the assistance the Philippines provided to Jewish refugees during WWII.
In the late 1930's most countries of the world closed their doors to Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazi regime. During this difficult period Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon agreed to issue 10,000 immigrant visas to European Jews. Some 1,300 Jews utilized these visas to immigrate to the Philippines. Many of them worked in the cigarette factory founded by the Freidar family in Manila and lived in blocs that President Quezon had built especially for them.
The monument, created by Philippine artist Mr. Jun Yee, consists of three doors in graded sizes symbolizing the courage and humanity of the Filipino people in welcoming the Jewish refugees. The triangular shape of the open doors represents the triangle on the Philippine flag and the triangles that comprise the Star of David. This integration of triangles is a symbol of the close friendly ties that exist between the Philippine Republic and the State of Israel.
The concrete floor below each door features an impression of a pair of feet crossing the threshold into the open door. These footprints belong to George Levinstein, a Jewish refugee who arrived in the Philippines in 1939, Max Weissler, who arrived in the Philippines in 1941 at age 11 and Dorilis Goffer, a 10-year old Filipino Israeli girl who is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Her footprints represent the continued friendship between the two countries.