Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Israel-Philippines deepen bilateral relationship, conduct Political Dialogue

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Photos courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy

From left, Assistant Secretary Alfonso A. Ver and Deputy Director General for ASPAC Rafael Harpaz

The State of Israel and the Republic of the Philippines held the 12th Philippines-Israel Joint Commission Meeting (Israel-Philippine Political Dialogue) to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries. Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs Hon. Rafael Harpaz headed the delegation from Israel while Assistant Secretary for Office of Middle East and African Affairs Hon. Alfonso Ferdinand Agbayani Ver led the Philippine delegation.

The Commission reviewed the relations between the two countries while highlighting the main areas of cooperation between Israel and the Philippines including agriculture, trade and economy, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Israel, innovation and technology, defense, and tourism.

Deputy Director General Harpaz emphasized the historically close and warm relations between the two countries. He congratulated the expansion of the Israeli Embassy in Manila which recently opened two new offices: the Economic and Trade Mission and the Office of the Defense Attaché. He highlighted the cooperation during the pandemic including the early vaccination of all OFWs in Israel and the deployment of Israeli medical teams to Manila to share the Israeli experience both on the vaccination campaign and the clinical treatment.

Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines H.E. Ilan Fluss shared that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. asked Israel to enhance cooperation with the Philippines in the area of agriculture. “We are happy to share our expertise in the field of agriculture with the Philippines to address productivity and food security,” Ambassador Fluss said. Other topics discussed were the solar-powered irrigation project, the agriculture internship program in Israel for Filipinos, and the PH-IL dairy programs.

Lighter moment between Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss and Assistant Secretary for Office of Middle East and African Affairs Hon. Alfonso Ferdinand Agbayani Ver

The Israeli delegation emphasized building bridges of innovations between the two countries in the areas of agritech, watertech, cybersecurity, ICT and connectivity, and more. Also included in the agenda is the topic of counterterrorism and the expansion of the defense cooperation between Israel with the Philippines.

Among the regional and international topics discussed during the JCM were bilateral political relations, developments in the Middle East and the Abraham Accords, Iran, the West Philippine Sea, and more.

DDG Harpaz served as the Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines from 2018 to 2021. The Israel-Philippine Political Dialogue was held on September 5, 2022, in Manila, Philippines.

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