MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will make a historic trip to Israel from September 2 to 5, making him the first Philippine leader to visit the country since the Philippines and Israel established ties in 1957.
Duterte is making the trip at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday, August 13.
“The official visit will be the first by a Philippine president since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries 61 years ago in 1957,” said the DFA.
“The historic visit will highlight the enduring friendship between Filipinos and Israelis, which began when President Manuel L. Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines as a sanctuary to an estimated 1,300 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust,” it added.
Duterte and Netanyahu will discuss ways to cooperate “in the areas of labor, tourism, trade, agriculture, counterterrorism, and security and law enforcement.” They will also sign several agreements during Duterte’s visit.
At the same time, Duterte will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to discuss ties between the Philippines and Israel.
As he does in other countries, Duterte will also meet with members of the Filipino community in Israel.
Duterte had offended Jews, and sparked outrage around the world, after he compared his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust, in a speech in September 2016. The firebrand leader eventually apologized to the Jewish community. – Rappler.com