More than 300 Filipinos held festive peace rally in Manila on Friday to express their solidarity with Israel despite their government being among the 138 countries recognizing Palestine as a non-member state in the United Nations.
Hebrew songs and shofar echoed through loudspeaker as pro-Israel Filipinos marched in a busy Manila business district followed by a convoy of over 50 cars in a rally that was organized by a handful of Christian organizations, Israel-based Ynet News reported Sunday.
The marchers waved Israeli flags, while others held banners in support of Israel that read “standing with Israel, now and then,” in reference to 1947 when the Philippines was the first Asian country to vote in support of the formation of the Jewish nation.
The march’s final destination, the national park, which is located some 10 kilometers from the starting point, saw more Israeli supporters joining. All sung a rendition of “Hatikva” (Israel’s national anthem) and blew the shofars to conclude the rally.
Christian organizations in the Philippines support Israel throughout the year by performing weekly mass prayer sessions for the Jewish state as well as fundraising and making similar marches on an annual basis, according to Ynet News.
There are other Christians in the world who also support Israel and for religious purposes. In the United States, pastors and priests have dedicated their Sunday services to teaching worshipers on the importance of Christians supporting Israel.
However, Filipino Muslims showed pro-Palestine sentiments when they marched toward the Israeli Embassy in Manila to denounce the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in November.
After fighting between Palestinians and Israelis came to an end late November, Israel’s envoy to Manila, Menashe Baron, has asked the government of the Philippines to lift a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers, The Washington Times reported Monday.
Baron said the ban is unnecessary because the situation in Israel is returning to normal after a cease-fire agreement ended eight days of fighting last month.
On Dec. 2 the Philippine government stated that it may review the deployment ban of Filipino workers to some areas in Israel if the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues to prevail.
According to Baron, there are about 120 Filipinos in Gaza and more than 40,000 working in Israel, mostly employed as caregivers and nursing elderly.