Philippines, Israel affirm strong relationship
Duterte expressed hope that the Philippines and Israel would continue to strengthen their friendship, which dates back to World War II.
Philippines, Israel affirm strong relationship
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2018 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM – President Duterte and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed the longstanding ties between their two countries in a historic meeting here yesterday.

Duterte expressed hope that the Philippines and Israel would continue to strengthen their friendship, which dates back to World War II.

The Philippines provided shelter to about 1,300 Jewish refugees  escaping from the Holocaust, the systematic murder of about six million Jews by Nazi Germany.

“May we continue to be blessed with a strong relationship. I do not think that there will ever be a time when there is an irritation between our two countries,” Duterte said.

“I hope that this country will continue with its friendly and warm relationship,” he added.

Netanyahu said Israel appreciates the visit of Duterte, the first by a sitting Philippine president.

“We remember the exceptional role of the Philippines that received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust,” he said.

 “We remember our friendship. And that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” he added.

Duterte told Netanyahu that his former wife Elizabeth Zimmerman is a descendant of a German Jew who migrated to the Philippines.

Netanyahu noted that the Philippines is the only Asian country that voted in favor of a United Nations resolution that created Israel. 

Three cooperation agreements on caregivers, science and trade cooperation were signed after the two leaders’ meeting.

The agreement on caregivers will cut as much as $12,000 – the cost taken away from every caregiver upon working in Israel.

“This is the money that is taken away from the caregivers and their families, the Israeli families who so want their service. This is an exceptional agreement and I think heralds the kind of friendship that we are developing,” Netanyahu said.

He recalled that a Filipino caregiver took care of his father.

“There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel, with thousands and thousands of families that have taken heart from the support given by Filipino care workers,” Netanyahu said.

 “I am one of those families, Mr. President. My late father died at the age of 102. In his later years, he received incredible care from a caregiver from the Philippines, a woman who has exceptional compassion and intelligence,” he added.

Duterte thanked Netanyahu for helping the Philippines in fighting terrorists in Marawi last year.

“We share the same passion for peace. We share the same passion for human beings. But we also share the same passion for not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have the corrupt ideology to kill and destroy,” Duterte said.

 He also thanked Netanyahu for hosting 28,000 Filipino workers.  Duterte vowed that the Philippines would help Israel when needed.

Meanwhile, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Duterte’s meeting with Netanyahu should not be used as a demonstration of Philippine support for alleged Israeli atrocities committed against the Palestinians in exchange for Israeli arms that could eventually be used against Filipinos. – Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Rhodina Villanueva

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