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20 FEBRUARY 2024: The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv held a screening of the film Quezon’s Game in the central Israel city of Hod HaSharon, drawing emotional reactions from local Israelis who learned for the first time of President Manuel L. Quezon’s heroic act of giving refuge to Jews fleeing the Holocaust in the 1930s.


The movie retells the events that led to Jews’ escape to the Philippines, and the inspiring back story of how President Quezon battled sickness and the American bureaucracy and politics to fulfill this humanitarian gesture.


When the antisemitic pogroms started in Europe, the Philippines, then a US colony, was the only country which opened its doors to fleeing Jews. President Quezon, working with Manila’s Jewish community and a few sympathetic American officials, lobbied hard to secure 10,000 visas for the fleeing Jews, but succeeded in taking in only 1,410 after the US government rejected the plan.


These Jews were able to leave Europe and arrived in Manila before the Japanese invasion. They were later called Manilaners.


The screening was held on the first death anniversary of Max Weissler, one of the Manilaners. Max’s son, Danny Weissler, worked with the Embassy and the city government of Hod HaSharon to organize the event. The guests included the family and friends of the Weisslers, Hod HaSharon Mayor Amir Kochavi, residents of the city, students, and some Filipino community members.


In his remarks, Ambassador Pedro R. Laylo, Jr underscored the importance of remembering Quezon’s moral courage and compassion during “one of humanity’s darkest moments.” “We bear witness to the sacrifice and survival of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, as well as the heroism of the righteous who aided and rescued them,” said the Amb. Laylo.


Ambassador Laylo also urged the attendees not to forget and share the lessons of Quezon and the Manilaners’ story, “especially now as we confront the rise of antisemitism across the globe.”


Emotional viewers applauded and wiped away tears as the credits rolled at the end of the film. Many of them then lined up to personally express to Ambassador Laylo their gratitude for what President Quezon did. They expressed amazement at how a remote, little-known Asian country at that time unconditionally welcomed Jews it had little or no connection with.


The Embassy continues to raise awareness of the legacy of Quezon and the story of the Manilaners - a defining chapter in the shared history of the Philippines and Israel.


Subsequent screenings of the movie are planned to reach a wider audience in Israel. The Embassy hopes the movie would also earn recognition for the Philippines, and give President Quezon his rightful place among the Righteous Gentiles inducted at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Friends of Zion Museum.


Photos courtesy of the the Embassy and Danny Weissler (son of the late Manilaner Max Weissler).





As part of Defibrillator Awareness Day that will take place tomorrow (Thursday), February 22, this year the Lottery, Magen David Adom and the local government center will hold a national awareness project under the title "Samim Lev – Take Heart.” The project will focus on informing about saving lives through the use of a defibrillator, and as part of it, hundreds of training stations and practicing life-saving scenarios in the event of a cardiac arrest will be deployed throughout the country.

A national awareness campaign was founded, together with the local government center, the Lottery, Magen David Adom and the "Efo Defi?" (Where’s the Defib) app, which began in February 2022 and continues this year as well, with the aim of raising awareness of the existence of defibrillators in the public space and the ease with which any person, even without a prior medical background, can use them in order to save lives.

Tomorrow, MDA will set up about 90 information and training stations throughout the country, where medics and paramedics of Magen David Adom will teach the general public how to take life-saving actions that include the use of an ambulance - in case of cardiac arrest in our immediate vicinity:

  • Identification of a cardiac arrest event
  • Knowing the location of the nearest defibrillator
  • Call MDA's 101 hotline
  • Effective and life-saving use of a defibrillator

Training sessions will be carried out by MDA youth volunteers in the high schools where they study in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

The social enterprise "Samim Lev" was established from the personal story of Lihi Korin - whose father David suffered a cardiac arrest at his workplace and was not connected to a public defibrillator that was near the scene of the incident. The project "Samim Lev" works in collaboration with "Efo Defi?" - a social platform for mapping defibrillators, which includes a mobile app and a website for locating the nearest defibrillator from your computer or phone. The collected information is under an open license and operates in a voluntary, free and non-profit manner. The information is synchronized with MDA's command and control system at the 101 emergency call center.

In 2023, Magen David Adom teams were dispatched to more than 6,000 cases of cardiac arrest and performed resuscitation operations, about 60% of the resuscitations took place in the public space and hundreds of them were connected to devices from the Magen David Adom smart stand by passers-by with telephone guidance from the 101 emergency center. In many cases, the defibrillator was the decisive factor and the patients' hearts started beating again.

For the locations of training and information stations - https://www.mdais.org/news/defibrillator-day-220224

Accountant Avigdor Itzhaki, Chairman of the Lottery: "This is the third year that the Lottery participates in a national project in collaboration with MDA to place resuscitation devices (defibrillators) in the public space, as part of which 600 advanced devices with wireless communication to MDA's 101 emergency call center were deployed throughout the country, outside the Lottery's positions with an investment of approximately 5 million shekels. Access to these stands exists even when the lottery station is closed, and the device has been used more than once and the device has saved numerous lives. The lottery invests all its profits for the Israeli community and society and there is no higher social goal than saving lives. We are happy to continue the tradition of partnership in the social enterprise 'Samim Lev', and together with the local government center, the Israel Cardiology Association, the "Efo Defi?" app, and the rescue organizations in Israel to continue raising awareness of the issue and saving lives in practice.”



MDA Director General Eli Bin: "The defibrillator is a small and simple device that can be used by anyone, even without prior medical knowledge or experience, and can turn a tragedy into a great miracle. In recent years, Magen David Adom has been working together with the Lottery Commission, the local authorities and other partners in order to make the device accessible to every citizen in the country and to increase the knowledge on the subject in order to save lives in the public sphere. To date, we have deployed thousands of defibrillators and we will continue to deploy more and more devices in public places, in residential buildings and throughout the cities, towns and villages for the residents of the State of Israel, alongside thousands of Magen David Adom first-responders, staff and volunteers who travel with defibrillators in their private vehicles or emergency medicycles - in order help and save lives at all times. I would like to thank our partner in the Lottery Commission and the many other partners who work together with us vigorously for the sake of the public and to help save lives. I call on the public to come to the Magen David Adom stands spread across the country on Defibrillator Awareness Day and learn how with the help of a few simple actions you can save lives.”






Photo  : Zaki Heler  /   MADA 











Good Deeds Day, a flagship project of the nonprofit Ruach Tova of the Arison Group, will be held on March 19th and will send out the message of unity • Thousands of volunteering and doing good activities will take place nationwide. United in Good

The 18th Good Deeds Day will be held on March 19th, with thousands of volunteering activities and doing good opportunities taking place across the country. Good Deeds Day is a peak event that marks the ongoing, year-round activities of Ruach Tova, a nonprofit organization of the Arison Group, which offers tailored volunteering opportunities throughout the year.

This year, the key message of Good Deeds Day is United in Good, with the idea of creating a critical mass of good deeds that brings about positive change. It calls on each and every person to join and do a good deed, be it large or small, according to their ability and heart’s desire, with the goal of creating positive change. Good Deeds Day will also be celebrated worldwide, with millions of people participating in 110 countries across the globe.

Businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison, who initiated Good Deeds Day 18 years ago: "I have always believed that if we think good, speak good, and do good, our world will be a better place. Good Deeds Day creates a critical mass of people united together in good," says Arison. "As a nation, on October 7 we suffered a terrible and tragic assault, and we will never be the same. Since that day, we are all hurting, but we are also more united, loving, giving, and are volunteering for one another. This year on Good Deeds Day, let's all amplify the good and illuminate it while emphasizing our unity and our togetherness. Because we are all one."

The nonprofit Ruach Tova states that throughout 2023 and in the beginning of this year, volunteering in Israeli society reached an all-high. Moreover, since the beginning of the war an impressive force for good has been noted across Israeli society, with people wanting to give of themselves in numerous ways for the benefit of others.

Do you also want to take part in the 18th Good Deeds Day? You are invited to visit the Good Deeds Day website, and choose your own special way of doing good from a variety of options and places: at home or at work, in groups or as individuals, with organizations or nonprofits. You can also choose the type of volunteering activity that suits you best: preparing food baskets for people in need, participating in creative projects for evacuees, joining joy-spreading activities, helping the environment or animals, volunteering with special populations, children and youth, the elderly, and more.

The Good Deeds Day website also offers a wide variety of ideas and lesson-plans if you want to initiate your own doing good activity, by yourself or with your family, community, and friends. Additionally, on Good Deeds Day itself, a hundred Good Deeds Day stations will open nationwide, where you can just stop and do a good deed on the fly.

It should be noted that this year’s Good Deeds Day will take place in the middle of the month of Ramadan, and that the Arab society will also mark this special time with thousands of doing good projects planned to take place over an entire week dedicated to doing good deeds. The highlight event in Arab society will take place on the evening before Good Deeds Day, with volunteers preparing 116 iftar meals in 116 centers, simultaneously, to mark unity in the family and community.

Rafi Elul, Chairman of the nonprofit Ruach Tova of the Arison Group: "Since October 7th, at a time where the reality we’re experiencing is complex and calls for our full engagement and goodwill, we see thousands of citizens putting their differences aside and stepping out to volunteer and demonstrate their unity. This is exactly the idea for which Good Deeds Day was born 18 years ago. And this connection that we are creating together on Good Deeds Day takes on an even stronger significance now, this year in particular. I am excited to be part of a venture that brings all fractions of society, from individuals to businesses to authorities, to create doing good projects together, for a more united nation and an even stronger, better society."

Similar to last year's Good Deeds Day, the largest volunteering exhibition in Israel will also take place this year, called Social Lens. Aimed at encouraging active social involvement, the exhibition will present photographs that document the public's spirit of volunteerism during the year, in general, and in wartime, in particular. The exhibition will open in ten different locations across the country, from north to south, with the purpose of sharing the social activities that take place locally, which ultimately forge a connection between communities while shining a spotlight on the people who do good.

Visit the Good Deeds Day website, and choose your way of doing good.







 Photo Eli Dasa






Embassy of India in collaboration with Masa-la-Chai Tours organized a tourism promotion event “From India with Love” at ICC, the Indian Cultural Center . The event was attended by the Director of ICC Mr. Vinod Pawar , a representant from Air India @open_sky_israel and many Israel travel enthusiasts.

Mr. Raz Helwing  a professional guide who specializes in India and owner of Masa-La-Chai took the Israeli audience to India's premier destinations, in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Goa, along with live music. Among the destinations covered were Varanasi, Lucknow, Manali, Rishikesh, Goa and hill stations in Kerala. 

 The event was accompanied by live music with pleasant nostalgia about the purity of Indian desserts.

Anat Nenner the Commercial Manager at Open Skies, which represents Air India in Israel, announced on the occasion about the resumed Direct flights of Air India from Tel Aviv to Delhi on short route starting from March 03, 2024. Anat added that the airline allows 2 large suitcases per passenger, several connections in India are free of charge, and options to fly from India to entire south Asia and the pacific.







Photo Silvia G Golan

 More Pics at Facebook Diplomacy Israel and Israel Diplo  /  Silvia G Golan





Yesterday (Wednesday, February 7), Javier Milei, President of Argentina, planted a tree of peace and hope at the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Grove of Nations of the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) in Jerusalem, making him the first president in participate in this significant tradition. since war broke out in Israel on October 7. The president's visit to the forest of nations here in Jerusalem, a city that tells the story of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, now that Israel is mourning the deaths of its civilians and soldiers, is a strong symbol of unity and shared values. from Israel and Argentina.


The President of the KKL-JNF, Ifat Ovadia-Luski expressed: "On this important occasion, we remember to thank the President of Argentina, Mr. Javier Milei, for participating in the long tradition, joining a line of presidents and world leaders who planted a tree in the KKL-JNF Gr/www.kkl-jnf.org/ove of Nations. This touching gesture during the hardships Israel is enduring during the war has deep meaning not only for us at the KKL-JNF, but for all civilians in Israel and the Jewish community in Argentina We also wish to thank the friends and allies of the KKL-JNF in Argentina for the warm and deep connection that has been formed in recent years and especially in the difficult times that Israel is experiencing. I am happy and proud that the president, despite the challenging circumstances chose to come to KKL-JNF's grove of nations here in the Jerusalem mountains and plant a tree of peace and hope - a shared hope for both nations to strengthen ties and further cooperation."


All members of the Argentine delegation that is visiting Israel these days participated in the exciting ceremony, among them: Karina Milei, Secretary of the Presidency of the Argentine Republic, Diana Mondino Chancellor of the Argentine Republic , Axel Wahnish (Argentine Ambassador designated to the State of Israel) , also Eyal Sela (Ambassador of Israel in Argentina) , Jonathan Peled (General Director for Latin America of the Israeli Foreign Ministry), the staff of the Argentine Embassy in Israel, who do an excellent and professional job. And for Israel they were present along with Ms. Ifat Ovadia Lusky (World President of KKL - JNF), Eitan Ginzburg politician Israel - Argentine (Vice President and President of the Education and Community Committee) former mayor of the city of Raanana and former vice president of the Knesset, Nissan Celik (member of the Board of Directors), Yuval Yani (Executive Director) and Ulises Taitelbaum (Former President of KKL Argentina)





 Photos Silvia Golan

More Pics at Facebook Diplomacy Israel and Israel Diplo  /  Silvia G Golan