Israel prepares for upcoming visit of controversial Philippines president

Israel is readying for an official visit from the president of the Philippines, who drew ire in the past for his comments about Hitler and the Nazis.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Israel is gearing up for a visit from the Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, who in the past compared his bloody anti-drug crackdown to Hitler and the Holocaust.

A government statement Friday said Duterte will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial early next week.

Duterte drew outrage in 2016 when he compared his anti-drug campaign to the Nazi genocide of Jews in World War II and said he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million addicts. He later apologized.

Following the remarks, Duterte made a personal appearance at Manila’s synagogue to apologize to the Jewish community for the remarks, made the previous Friday.

At the end of 2017, following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Duterte sent an official message to Israel declaring his desire to move the Philippines embassy to Jerusalem, a move made by the US in May 2018.

Israel hosts a significant population of citizens of the Philippines, who work in the healthcare industry throughout the Jewish state.

Duterte, a 73-year-old former government prosecutor, denies condoning extrajudicial killings but has openly threatened drug dealers with death.

Philippine police say more than 4,500 suspects have been killed in anti-drug raids since Duterte took office in 2016. Rights groups say the death toll is much higher.