The 68th Israeli National Day
Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau and wife, retired former ambassador Mme. Lizia Lu hosted a reception to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Independence of the State of Israel at New World Makati Hotel.
“We started our journey in history as a promised land, and today we are a land of many promises,”
The Ambassador said during his welcome address.
“In 1958, our founding father, the first Prime Minister of Israel stated that Israel must share its nation-building experience with Asia and South America. And since then, more than 170 thousand people around the world endured our hospitality.”
The strong bilateral relationship between Israel and the Philippines has been a longstanding partnership that began long before Israel was a state, and even before the formal establishment of the Israel-Philippines diplomatic relations in 1957.
“[Israel-Philippines relationship] is no ordinary relation. This unique relationship starts before
our two nations became fully independent. In 1977, the late President Manuel L. Quezon defined an open-door policy which reflects the open hearts and friendship of Filipino people,” the Ambassador beamed.
He noted that the Philippines, under President Manuel L. Quezon, allowed 1,300 Jews to escape the holocaust in the 1930s, granting them visas and opening places for them to settle. Then in 1947, the Philippine vote became the tie-breaking voice in the UN to establish the State of Israel.
The relationship between the two countries has become reciprocal with numerous high-level visits of Philippine officials in Israel, while Israeli delegations and companies have frequently visited Manila to discuss agriculture cooperation with Philippine companies.
According to DFA Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, more than 1,500 Filipino students have been training in Israel in agriculture technology and advance farming techniques.
Israel was also one of the first to reach out when the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, dispatching 100 medical staff and equipment to the battered country.
Tourism also has become a very important relationship between two countries. He noted the steady increase in Israel tourist arrivals in the country and the Philippines being considered as Israel’s sixth largest market in Asia with over 11,000 Filipino visits in 2014.
Next year marks the 60th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries, one that has been nurtured through common values and shared aspirations.
By VIA BAROMA