Marcelo Rebelo Sousa presided today the military ceremony commemorating the Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities, which took place in Peso da Régua, and defended that "Portugal has to "fulfil its vocation ever: to build bridges, to be a platform between oceans, continents, cultures and peoples."
About the "richer times" of the former Portuguese Empire of D. João II and D. Manuel (that even celebrated the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain in 1494), the President of the Portuguese Republic recalled the "foolish" expulsions of non-Christians, essentially the Jews.
Last week, the Oporto Jewish Community (CIP/CJP) offered the President the book "Dom Yahia Ben-Yahia - 1.º Rabi-Mor de Portugal", written in 1944 by its founder, Captain Barros Basto. "We take pride in remembering the Jewish communities’ participation in Portugal’s development since its foundation, as well as in the friendship between King D. Afonso Henriques and D. Yahia Ben Yaish", states the letter of the Community to Rebelo Sousa. "The first Chief Rabbi of Portugal occupied high positions in the administration of the Realm and fought alongside and at the service of the King, indeed he died at the service of the King", it adds.
The National Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities celebrated annually on 10 June is one of the public holidays in Portugal and is commemorated by Portuguese people throughout the world, including in Israel, Turkey, France, and Brazil.
This year 2023, Portugal Day was celebrated in Peso da Régua and also in South Africa.