Netanyahu (R) with Philippine President
Netanyahu (R) with Philippine President Amos ben Gershom, GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met this afternoon with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.

As part of the visit, several agreements were signed between the two countries in the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Duterte:

Nursing agreement: A bilateral agreement for temporary employment of helpers from the Philippines in Israel that will completely cancel all brokerage fees paid to intermediaries, saving thousands of shekels. The agreement will assist the elderly and those in need of long-term care services in Israel and will also have positive implications for such agreements with other countries in the future.

For the Israeli side Interior Minister Aryeh Deri signed and Philippine Labor and Employment Minister Silvestre Hernando Bello signed for the Philippine side.

Memorandum of Understanding in the field of scientific cooperation: The Memorandum of Understanding encourages and establishes scientific cooperation programs between the Israeli Science and Technology Ministry and the Republic of the Philippines Science and Technology Department.

For the Israeli side, Science and Technology Minister Ophir Akunis signed and on the Philippine side Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano signed.

Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Encouraging Investments between the States: The MOU is between Invest in Israel of the Economy and Industry Ministry, the Government of Israel, and the Investment Board of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines regarding cooperation to promote direct bilateral investments.

For the Israeli side, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen signed. On the Philippine side Trade and Industry Minister Ramon Lopez signed the agreement.

At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu said, "President Duterte, welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.

"We mark that this is the first visit by a president of the Philippines in the history of Israel. It is deeply appreciated. We remember the exceptional role of the Philippines that received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. We remember that the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for the establishment of the State of Israel in the UN resolution in 1947. Mr. President, we remember our friends. And that friendship has blossomed over the years, and especially over the last few years.

"We’re going to sign here today three important agreements, in trade, in science and, no less important, in caregiving. There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel where thousands and thousands of families have taken heart from the support given by Filipino care workers to the elderly. I am one of those families, Mr. President. My late father, who died at the age of 102, in his later years received incredible care by a caregiver from the Philippines, Lee, a woman of exceptional compassion and intelligence. She took care of my father’s every need. And when he passed away, she took care of his brother’s needs, until he passed away.

"I, like many, many Israeli families, am deeply moved by this show of humanity. And today we’re going to sign an agreement that will knock off as much as $12,000 from the cost of every caregiver. This is money that is taken away from the caregivers and the families, the Israeli families who so want their service. This is an exceptional agreement and I think it heralds the kind of friendship that we are developing.

"In that spirit Mr. President, I welcome you; welcome to Jerusalem."

President Duterte turned emotional amid loud chanting from around 1,400 Filipinos who welcomed him as the first Philippine leader to visit Israel since the two countries established ties in 1957. “You know, I rarely cry. Especially when I could remember maybe the times that I cried, when my father and mother died. But rare, very rare,” Duterte said after wiping his tears in front of overjoyed Filipinos on Sunday night at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. “This is my only visit that maybe I will do it again, I really don't know. But this is the first time I turned emotional that I’m here in front of my countrymen,” he added:

Interior Minister Deri (R) shakes hands with Duterte
Interior Minister Deri (R) shakes hands with Duterte Flash 90