ISRAEL’S Ambassador to the Philippines accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s apology to the Jewish community for his remarks likening his campaign on illegal drugs to the Holocaust that resulted in the death of millions of Jews during the time of German leader Adolf Hitler.
On Tuesday night, Duterte again apologized to the Jewish community saying his references to the Holocaust while discussing his war on drugs were meant to hit back at critics who had likened him to Hitler.
Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau said the President’s apology was accepted.
Duterte’s Hitler comment had caused outrage among Jewish communities around the world.
“He is the President. He said it was never intentional so we accept his apology...from the start we knew his personality already, and we know it is not intentional,” Matityau told reporters after Duterte spoke before the members of the Jewish Association of the Philippines at the Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year celebration at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati.
The Ambassador said the President’s historic visit to the Jewish Synagogue carries the blessings of the New Year’s holiday which symbolizes soul search, forgiveness and atonement.
He said the President decided to come to the Synagogue of the Jewish community in Manila to apologize personally to the Jewish world on statements made connecting the Jewish Holocaust and his war on drugs.
“The President made it clear what was already clear and known that he did not mean disrespect to the Jewish people. Referring to his personal life, his wife Elizabeth Zimmerman is actually a daughter of a Jewish father who found the Philippines as a shelter and home,” Matityau wrote in a post on his Facebook account.
He added that Duterte expressed his respect and affinity to the Jewish people and Israel, paying homage to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his desire to strengthen ties with Israel.