Philippines' Duterte Seeks Deals in Historic Visit to Israel

(Bloomberg) -- Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that he’s looking to boost business and military ties with Israel and Jordan when he makes the first-ever trips by a Philippine president to the two middle eastern countries this week.

“I leave today for landmark visits that underscore a vision of our country to be a responsible member of the world community, a Philippines that is a friend to all and enemy to no one,” Duterte said in a televised speech in Manila. “I shall seek to have a robust relationship that looks forward to broader cooperation on a broad range of mutually important areas -- defense and security, law enforcement, economic development, trade investments and labor.”

Duterte, who once likened himself to Adolf Hitler, is going to Israel at the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will meet with the Filipino community during his four-day official visit, which is the first to Israel by a Philippine president. The link between the two countries can be traced to the time when the southeast Asian nation sheltered Jews during the Holocaust.

About 28,000 Filipinos live and work in Israel and about 48,000 in Jordan. “Without mentioning anything, there’s a volatile situation there and we have to be sure that our citizens are fully protected,” said Duterte, who will visiting Jordan from Sept. 5-8. He is being accompanied by an entourage including businessmen, soldiers and policemen.

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