President of the Philippines to make historic visit to Israel in coming months

In his first major official visit to the West, Duterte chooses Israel; President reportedly excited to visit Jerusalem, to hold meetings centered on increasing ties in security and arms sales

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The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, announced he will be visiting Israel in the coming months, his visit reportedly to center on increasing security ties with Israel.

Duterte has made only very few diplomatic visits to neighboring Asian countries, the Filipino president having never made an official visit to the West, making Israel his first official visit to a Western country since taking office in June of 2016.

Duterte is an outspoken Zionist and supporter of the Jewish state, and is reportedly excited to visit Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with Duterte by phone in October of 2016 in efforts to gain support against the UNESCO resolution denying Jewish ties and history to Jerusalem.

Israel and the Philippines hold strong ties in security and arms sales. Duterte’s visit will center on increasing these ties.

His visit comes as Israel increases its relations globally, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Prime Minister Netanyahu just recently made history as the first Israeli prime minister to visit Singapore and Australia in February