24 February 2020 - 30 Shevat 5780 - ל' שבט ה' אלפים תש"פ
Balai Quezon House officially opens inside the Philippine Embassy E-mail

The Philippine Embassy in Israel has officially inaugurated the Balai Quezon (Quezon House) inside its premises on 29 October.

Members of the diplomatic corps and Israeli officials were also present at the launch of the centre, which was established to honor President Manuel L. Quezon’s policy creating a safe haven in the Philippines for Jewish refugees of the Holocaust.

Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto C. Abella was the guest of honour for the official opening ceremony. Also present were Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum, proud “Manilaners” who now reside in Israel. Mr. Weissler and Ms. Kestenbaum were among the almost 1,300 Jewish refugees who were able to find safety in Manila; the community referred to themselves as “Manilaners” in fond reference to the city that became their new home.

In his keynote address, the Undersecretary noted that Quezon’s policy had been driven by principle and a sense of shared humanity: “... the idea that a people would shelter another for the simple reason that they believe in their basic right to exist and pursue a life of freedom and fulfillment.”

He expressed hope that the Balai Quezon would support efforts to build awareness of Quezon’s inspiring legacy, and lauded it for being “the first and only of its kind in the Philippine foreign service.”

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