Rosh Hashanah Message of HE Ilan Fluss, Israeli Ambassador to the PH

The Embassy of Israel in the Philippines held a special event at Pandesal Forum in Quezon City last 20 September 2023 to commemorate Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year. Here is HE Ilan Fluss’s message:

“Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year is a time of rejoicing and serious introspection. This is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls during September or October.

Rosh Hashanah 2023 begins on the evening of Friday, September 15, and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 17, 2023.

Ambassador Fluss talks about challa bread, traditionally served during Rosh Hashanah. Challah bread symbolizes the cyclical nature of life, as well as or the crown of God. Photo by Mark Nilo Odiaman

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. This high holiday is a time to do self-reflection of the previous year and an opportunity to make decisions for the coming year.

As we enter this new phase, the Embassy of Israel looks back on the fruitful year we had here in Manila. The recent visit of Israeli FM Eli Cohen signified the strong relations between Israel and the Philippines. It further strengthened our bilateral relations and the areas of cooperation such as agriculture and water, trade and economy, innovation and technology, and defense, among others. The Embassy is working closely with the Philippine government to reap the fruits of the high-level visit.

Another important visit we sponsored is with Deputy Director of the Volcani Institute of Israel Prof. Uri Yermiyahu to talk about Agriculture with relevant agriculture leaders, departments, and agrimovers in the Philippines. This is one way to answer the call of President Marcos for Israel to do more in agriculture.

In the coming new Jewish year, we are working on many economic and defense cooperation between our nations. This year, we are expecting delegations including a water roadshow, emergency response delegation, and agtech roadshow. We are also expecting a visit of the Israel Asia Chamber of Commerce to the Philippines. Another economic event happening next month is the first Israel-Philippines Joint Economic Committee in Jerusalem.

A delegation from Israel’s Minister of Defense International Defense Cooperation is currently in the Philippines to strengthen further the defense cooperation between our nations. Another high-level delegation from the Israeli Ministry of Defense-SIBAT will be paying a visit to the Philippines soon, which is a manifestation of our close defense partnership.

This year, as we enter the post-pandemic year, the Embassy has been more active in other areas to bring Israel and the Philippines closer. We recently participated in the Manila Improv Festival and held a side event for the Israeli Improv group which is dedicated to the OFWs in Israel and to remember the late DMW. Sec. Ople. Annually, the Embassy participates in the Brigada Eskwela of the Department of Education. This year, we built a mini-library called Jerusalem Learning Resource Center in Barangay Bagong Tanyag Annex A in Taguig. We work closely with the DepEd, and we actually agreed on commemorating together the International Holocaust Remembrance Day every January.

MASHAV – Israel’s agency for International Cooperation, has been offering training programs for Filipinos to go to Israel. Some of the training courses are about environmental challenges, flood forecasting, intensive fish farming, inclusive Early Childhood Education for Children with Disabilities. We are happy that some Filipinos got accepted as MASHAV Scholars.

In the coming new Jewish year, we will also enhance the level of interaction between our countries and people. We are working on promoting the innovation and technology of Israel to different academes around the Philippines. The Embassy will soon be bringing back the Israeli film festival which was halted by the pandemic. We also encourage cultural exchanges, just like the upcoming concert of Julie Ann San Jose, Rayver Cruz and Boobay in Tel Aviv.

In October, we are expecting Filipino delegations to join the Agritech 2023 in Israel which is one of the most important exhibitions in the fields of technology, irrigation, fertilization, agricultural mechanization, water and food. Agritech is also a leading platform for global exhibitors presenting the best innovative technologies in the field of agriculture.

The Israeli Embassy is working on more projects and events that will further enhance the relations of Israel and the Philippines. On behalf of the Embassy, I thank everyone for joining us today. Our media friends play a very important role in promoting the historically friendly relations between Israel and the Philippines.

Shana tova! Maraming salamat!”