The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lauded the Filipino people for their resiliency and strength amid the chaos brought about by the ongoing conflict between the Israeli government and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. 

“If I know anything about the Filipino people, I don’t pretend to know, but from what I saw after the horrors of the typhoon [Yolanda], I know that the Filipinos they are very strong people like Israelis,” IDF spokesperson Major Libi Weiss said. 

Weiss’ statement came after she was asked in a virtual conference on Wednesday about the condition of the Filipinos in Israel amid the conflict with Hamas militants. She was part of the Israeli contingent that helped the Philippines following the super typhoon Yolanda aftermath in Tacloban City in 2013.

*In the same virtual press conference sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Manila, Weiss gave updates on the situation of Filipinos in Israel. She said that everyone in Israel is distraught, including Filipinos and all other foreign nationals in the country.*

“Everybody who is in Israel since Saturday has felt I think a huge degree of sadness, of fear, of loss. You know, I include the Filipino people who are here in Israel sort of with that by saying that we all feel that,” Weiss said. 

Thousands of Israelis including three Filipinos were killed when the Hamas militants attacked more than 30 communities in southern Israel on Saturday.

Weiss reiterated that the Israeli forces are calling on their citizens, including the Filipino people to move away from any area where there could be strikes or anything that the Hamas could spur danger to the people. 

She added that the goal of the IDF is now to ensure that Hamas can never strike back by eliminating their military capability to carry out attacks against Israel and others. 

Weiss also emphasized that she wanted to see to it that all hostages will be sent home safely by Hamas. 

“But again, I say this, and I repeat it. But I think, it’s an important message that sometimes we’re missing which is that the fastest way, the safest way for them to come home will be for Hamas to release them immediately without any terms, without any conditions,” she said. 

Asked if there are safety measures or evacuation plans in place for foreign nationals, Weiss deferred the matter to the embassies as it is a special concern on a diplomatic level, but emphasized that lines of communication are open. | PND

Photo Courtesy of PIA