Israel confident of boosting ties with PH under Sara's leadership; 'Mazal tov!'

Published May 26, 2022, 9:16 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Israel has expressed confidence that its friendly ties with the Philippines will improve under the leadership of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio as the middle eastern nation congratulated her.

File photo of Davao City Mayor and now Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio shaking hands with former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the signing of agreements between both countries at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on September 3, 2018. (REY BANIQUET/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

The Israel Embassy in the Philippines said this after Duterte’s proclamation as the duly elected vice president of the Philippines after a landslide victory in the 2022 polls.

In a Facebook post, the Embassy said it is looking forward to Duterte’s next visit to Israel in her new capacity.

“Mazal Tov Vice President-elect Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio!” the post read.

“We are optimistic that our friendly relations will boost further under your leadership. We look forward to your next visit to Israel… as the VP!”

The Vice President-elect went to Israel in September 2018 with her father, President Duterte. The older Duterte’s four-day trip to Jerusalem was historic as he was the first Philippine president to visit the Holy Land officially.

President Duterte explained that he had brought the Davao City mayor with him because of her mother’s Jewish roots.

The father of Elizabeth Zimmerman — Duterte’s ex-wife and Sara’s mother — was a German Jew who escaped Nazi Germany and obtained a Philippine visa alone with around 1,300 other European Jews.

Former Foreign Affairs deputy director-general for Asia-Pacific Affairs Gilad Cohen described Sara’s visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem as a “closure.”

“Sara Duterte (Zimmerman) is #Davao Mayor, the #Philippines. She is President Duterte’s daughter, and her #Jewish grandfather found shelter in [the Philippines] before WWII when President Quezon opened the gates for Jews who fled Germany. A closure here in [Israel] at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum,” he wrote in 2018.

The Philippine Commonwealth government’s open-door policy accommodated Jews who fled Europe from 1935 to 1941.

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored persecution and murder of around 6 million Jews by the Nazis who came to power in Germany in January 1933.

During their visit, President Duterte wrote the words “Never again” when he signed the guest book of the Yad Vashem at the Children’s Memorial Hall, referring to the persecution and murder of six million Jews during World War II by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

“May the hearts of peoples around the world remain ever open. And may the minds of all men and women learn to work together towards providing a safe haven for all who are being persecuted,” he added.

In his brief remarks, while touring the Hall of Names, the Chief Executive said people should not let despots rule a country that might lead to another holocaust.

File photo of President Duterte and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio leading the wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem, Israel on September 3, 2018. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

President Duterte’s visit came two years after he attracted criticism when he compared himself to Hitler, saying he would be happy to kill three million addicts like what the Nazi leader did to Jews.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews. There are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said in a press conference in September 2016.

“At least, if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have, you know,” he added, referring to himself.

After drawing controversy, President Duterte later apologized to the Jews, saying he never intended to devalue the memory of the Holocaust victims.

 
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