Little Manila

The Filipino community in Israel gained a moment of attention with Rose Fostanes’ ‘X-Factor’ win, but for the majority of those working here, no real change is on the horizon

The furniture store at 17 Levanda Street gives no hint that it is a major bustling religious center in Tel Aviv. But ensconced in the residential building behind it are three churches, one for Eritreans, another for Lutherans and the popular Chapel of Divine Mercy for Filipinos.

Sister Regina, a middle-aged nun who helps serve the Filipino community in Israel, opens the door on the ground floor of the building. It is quiet in the dark hallway, and she points the way down some stairs. At the bottom are some ramshackle tables with purple candleholders; plastic statues of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and a Franciscan friar stand on them. The word “silence” is set on the wall.

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