Open Doors Monument, Holocaust Memorial Park, Rishon LeZion, Israel
September 5, 2018

Culminating his four-day historic visit to the State of Israel, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led a wreath-laying ceremony at the Open Doors Monument of the Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Zur accompanied the President during the wreath-laying ceremony.

In 1930s, the Philippines — under former Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon — accepted Jews who are fleeing from the Holocaust in Europe through the open door policy. Around 1,300 Jewish refugees entered the country that time. This humanitarian gesture was immortalized through the establishment of the Open Doors Monument in Rishon LeZion unveiled on June 21, 2009.

Designed by Filipino artist Luis ‘Junyee’ Yee, Jr., the Open Doors Monument’s three (3) open doors in increasing heights symbolize the humanitarian deeds and the courage of Filipinos in welcoming the Jews under the open door policy in 1939. These open doors have triangular patterns that represent the triangles of the Philippine flag. Beneath the monument is the Star of David to mark the close and friendly relations between the Philippines and Israel. The light in the monument signifies the sun ‘that brought hope and warm hospitality of the Filipino people’ in welcoming the Jews. These Doors are painted brown to symbolize the Malay race of the Filipinos.

In front of each door are footprints which belonged to three different persons: George Loewenstein who was one of the thousands of Jews who sought refuge in the Philippines in 1939; Max Weissler who was a refugee from Germany and arrived in the Philippines in 1941; and Doryliz Goffer, a Filipino-Israeli born in the Philippines who is a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Her footprint represents the continuing friendship between the Philippines and Israel.

Weissler and Goffer met with and joined the President during the wreath-laying ceremony.

According to H.E. Nathaniel Imperial, Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Israel, the open door policy of the former Philippine Commonwealth Government is just one of the pivotal events that commenced and strengthened the shared historical, humanitarian, and people-to-people relations between the Philippines and Israel.

After the event, the President embarks on his next historic visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

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