Netanyahu warmly welcomes Philippines’ Duterte to Israel

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended a warm welcome to controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday at the start of an official visit.

The two leaders oversaw the signing of three agreements in trade, science and care-giving. Netanyahu highlighted the countries’ long friendship, how the Philippines took in Jewish refugees after World War II and was the only Asian nation to vote for Israel’s establishment.

“We remember our friends and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” Netanyahu told Duterte.

Duterte has been accused of condoning human rights abuses in his deadly drug crackdown and has made controversial comments about the Holocaust.

The 73-year-old Duterte, a former government prosecutor who has repeatedly threatened drug dealers with death, says “Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend.”

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