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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, March 7, 2013

Dinner with the
Israeli ambassador


It was a lovely evening when we attended the dinner tendered by the Bacolod City government for Menashe Bar-On, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel to the Philippines.

The affair was held recently at the Bacolod Government Center that was majestically lit up for the occasion. By the time we arrived, the place was filled with local government officials, department heads, business leaders and the movers and shakers in the city.

I looked around for the guest of honor and found him seated at the presidential table chatting with Mayor Bing Leonardia. He looked dashing and distinguish, reminding me of a character in the celebrated movie “Zero Dark Thirty” that I saw just a few days ago. At the program, Mayor Bing warmly welcomed the Ambassador to Bacolod City. He told the audience he had prepared the police chief to form a security detail for the visiting envoy. But he was pleasantly surprised to find Ambassador Bar-On arriving without any security at all. That’s how relaxed he was about visiting Bacolod.

In his speech, the Ambassador said the Philippines was the only Asian country who offered visas to the persecuted Jews who were fleeing the Nazis during the Second World War. This was something the people of Israel would never forget and he expressed their gratitude to the Filipinos. He said he was visibly impressed with Bacolod City and the warmth of its people. He revealed that Israel would welcome Filipino workers to their country.

The evening’s dinner was excellent – fit for a visiting dignitary. Entertainment was provided by a rousing number from the MassKara Festival dancers. We couldn’t leave without a photo-op with Ambassador Bar-On, a most engaging embassy official, indeed.*

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