Meet the Herzls / A different kind of Herzl
Herzl (Maria) F. came to Israel from the Philippines five years ago on a work visa.
Herzl (Maria) F. is 34 and a mother of three. She came to Israel from the Philippines five years ago on a work visa. The visa was designated for providing care for the elderly and it expired two years ago.
At the moment she is considered an illegal foreign worker, and therefore she refused to be photographed for the article. She says that in the Philippines the name Herzl is common mainly among women, but she doesn’t know whether the name has any meaning there.
When she arrived in Israel she was unaware of the local connotation of her name, and she says that the immigration officials at Ben-Gurion International Airport snickered a little when she told them.
Later on, she received many similar reactions from Israelis, which is why she usually introduces herself by her sister’s name, Maria, “in order to avoid the laughter and the explanations.”
Only in Israel did Herzl/Maria learn about the activity of the visionary of the state and she has even developed a certain affection for him.
“I read a lot about him on the Internet, and I even found a good book about him in English. I think that there aren’t many historical examples of a case where a man writes a book or proposes an idea that becomes such a concrete reality, as in the case of Herzl and the State of Israel,” she says.
Herzl/Maria does not describe herself as a Zionist, although she loves Israel very much and would like to continue living here. “If I were a Jew, I would certainly make aliyah,” she says.
Herzl/Maria says she has yet to visit the Zionist leader’s grave and hopes she will have an opportunity to do so before she leaves the country or before she is caught and expelled by Immigration Police.