Duterte: No offense meant, my ex-wife is a Jew
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte last night reiterated his apology to the Jewish community for comparing his war against drugs to Hitler’s extermination of the Jews during World War II.

In a speech during the Jewish holiday celebration of Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish new year, Duterte said he did not intend to defile the memory of the Jews, noting that his former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, is Jewish-American.

While saying he wanted to join their celebration in Makati, Duterte told them he has to leave early because he will have a birthday dinner with his wife.

Journalists were puzzled by Duterte’s reason for leaving the event, noting the birthday of his current partner, Honeylet Avaceña, is in February, Zimmerman’s in April and his March.

“My presence here was a compelling one. I’d like to greet you for your holiday, and I said that I would like to apologize,” the President said, discarding his prepared speech for the event.

Duterte, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., said his remark was not intended to destroy the memories of the Jews and that it’s not a tradition among Filipinos to “tinker with the memories of our ancestors.”

“It was a mental slip. It had nothing to do with the memories of the Jews. It was just a play of my tongue,” he said, adding he respects the Jews.

“It was a slip because of the number of three million. And I was portrayed as a Hitler,” the President said, referring to the number of Filipinos affected by the drug menace in the country.

“Please accept my apology and it will never happen again. We will always be friends, even if we don’t share the same structure of government. We have one common denominator – we believe in one God,” he said.

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