Mayor Herbert Bautista joined Israel Ambassador Ephraim Ben Matityau for the groundbreaking ceremony of the planned Philippine-Israel Friendship Marker to be built inside the QC Memorial Circle (QMC).
The event was attended by Lina Laigo, President of the Manuel A. Roxas Foundation, Cory Quirino, granddaughter of former President Elpidio Quirino and Atty. Manuel R. Roxas, grandson of former President Roxas.
The warm relations between the two countries date back to the time of the Philippine Commonwealth Government when President Manuel L. Quezon offered safe haven to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime during World War 2.
Quezon issued visas to about 1,200 to 1,500 Jewish refugees. He also provided houses and set up housing communities for the refugees in a government-owned land in Marikina.
In 2011, Israel Ambassador Bar-On visited the city and urged for the installation of a marker in Quezon City that would give due recognition of the city’s historic role. Monuments and markers to honor Quezon’s role are also installed in Israel, at the Open Doors monument and at the Jerusalem Boys town.’
In 2014, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ephraim Ben Matityau presented Mayor Bautista with a symbolic olive tree as a gift to Quezon City, in remembrance of President Quezon who worked out, through a complicated set of international maneuverings, for the safe passage of Jews into the Philippines, as a humanitarian gesture to save them from the Holocaust.