Photo: AFP
Philippines President Duterte
Photo: AFP

Philippines President Duterte to visit Israel in September

The controversial Filipino leader, who in 2016 said would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts as Adolf Hitler slaughtered six million Jews, will arrive in Israel on September 3 for a two-day visit.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on September 3 for a two-day visit, will be the first ever Filipino president visiting the Jewish state.



Much like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who visit Israel this week, Duterte also is not schedule to visit the Palestinian Authority.


The Philippines is considered relatively friendly country toward Israel, including in UN votes. Duterte was supposed to visit Israel in May 2017, but the visit was canceled due to internal matters in the Philippines. 

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AP)
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AP)


Among the issues on the agenda for Duterte's visit: signing long-term care agreements between the two countries, combating drug trafficking, examining the possibility of direct flight routes between Israel and the Philippines, agricultural cooperation and security deals. Duterte will be accompanied by a delegation of Filipino businessmen.


The controversial president has a rich record of both domestic and international scandals.


In 2016, Duterte sparked international uproar when he said he would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts as Adolf Hitler slaughtered six million Jews in the Holocaust.


In that speech, the brash president said without elaborating that he has been "portrayed or pictured to be a cousin of Hitler" by his critics.


Moments later, he said, "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews ... there's 3 million drug addicts. There are. I'd be happy to slaughter them."


His remarks drew shock and outrage across the world, leading the Filipino president to apologize and even pay a special visit to the Beit Yaakov Synagogue in Manila during the Jewish New Year.


“I would like to apologize and it comes from the heart,” Duterte told members of the Jewish Association of the Philippines.


Deriding critics who had compared him to Hitler, Duterte acknowledged he erred in referencing what happened to Jewish people under the Nazi leader.


"I mentioned the word Jewish and that was what was terribly wrong and for that I apologize," Duterte said, drawing an applause. "But I'm not one of the racist members of this republic."


Duterte at the Beit Yaakov Synagogue  (Photo: AFP)
Duterte at the Beit Yaakov Synagogue (Photo: AFP)


He said he had never intended to derogate the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered under Hitler before and during World War II.


Duterte and Israel's ambassador to the Philippines Efi Ben Matityahu, who also arrived at the synagogue, had an interesting conversation, on which the ambassador then reported to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.


"Duterte praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his steadfastness in safeguarding Israel's national interest from any element," Ben Matityahu wrote. "He stressed his friendship to Israel and to the Jewish people, which he said he expresses to the many Israeli officials he meets with."


The grandfather of Duterte's ex-wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, was a Jewish refugee who received a visa to the Philippines during World War II. One of their grandsons is called Yair, a Jewish name.


Duterte has been dubbed the "cursing president" and has cursed former US President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and the UN, while giving the finger.


Last month, he brought a woman on stage during a speech in South Korea and kissed her in front of the audience and media cameras.


He has also made violent comments against women. In February, when he met with Filipino soldiers, he told them they should shoot female rebels in their genitals.



The Associated Press contributed to this story.


פרסום ראשון: 07.21.18, 17:57
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Philippines President Duterte to visit Israel in September"
This will delete your current comment