MANILA -- Hopeful that ties between the Philippines and Israel flourish over the years, President Rodrigo R. Duterte told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Filipinos will continue to extend their help as they did when they received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
“We received the Israelis there and their families and I am sure that many of them have spread all throughout the country,” Duterte said in his speech during his meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.
“Thank you and 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,” he added.
Duterte said both the Philippines and Israel shares the passion for peace, for human beings, and the desire not to allow their countries to be destroyed by corrupt ideologies.
“In this sense, Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend to your country,” he said.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, said he was “deeply moved” by the Philippines’ show of humanity since former president Manuel Quezon allowed the entry of some 1,300 Jewish refugees to the country.
“We remember the exceptional role of the Philippines that received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. We remember that the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for the establishment of the State of Israel in the UN resolution in 1947,” Netanyahu said.
“I, like many, many Israeli families, have (been) deeply moved by this show of humanity,” he added.
Duterte and Netanyahu witnessed the signing of three agreements -- the Memorandum of Agreement on the Employment of Filipino Caregivers, Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Cooperation, and Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Investments and Invest in Israel.
Netanyahu described how Filipino caregivers have taken care of the Israeli elderly as a “remarkable phenomenon” as someone who has experienced it first-hand.
“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 by a caregiver from the Philippines, a woman who has exceptional compassion and intelligence. She took care of my father’s every need. And when he passed away, she took care of his brother’s niece until he passed away,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
“This is an exceptional agreement and I think heralds the kind of friendship that we are developing,” he added.
After their meeting, Duterte visited the the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center as part of his four-day official visit in Israel.
The President expressed hope that a “horrific and benighted period of human history” would not happen again.
“I hope that this will not happen again. But we are a world whose — now... We have learned so much along the years during the two wars,” he said.
“There is always a lesson to be learned and that despots and leaders who show insanity should be — well they should be disposed of at the first instance,” he added. (PNA)