President Reuven Rivlin told his Filipino counterpart on Tuesday morning that the Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany who orchestrated the mass genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust, was "the devil himself."
"I have to emphasize that the whole of humanity, not just the Jewish world and the free world, felt that Hitler represents the devil himself," the president said and added: "I don't doubt that you felt that at your Yad Vashem visit yesterday. You felt the extent of the disaster that plagued the world in those damned years - 1939-1945."
Rivlin made the comment during a meeting with the Philippines' president, who is in Israel for a four-day visit.
On Monday, Duterte visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem as part of his official visit to Israel.
In September 2016, Duterte compared crackdown on drug dealers and users to the Holocaust, saying that he would kill a large number of addicts as Hitler had killed a large number of Jews. "Critics compare me to Hitler’s cousin,” he said. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews... there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them."
The Philippine president said Tuesday that Manila has received assistance from Israel many times in the realm of intelligence and that he had told the military that Israel was the only country from which to purchase military equipment. The U.S. is a good friend, Duterte said, as are China and Germany, but the Philippines prefers to purchase equipment from Israel.
As Rivlin and Duterte spoke, dozens of protesters gathered outside the President's Residence, calling Duterte a "dangerous dictator" who would end up being tried in The Hague.
Amnesty International Israel meanwhile decried the apparent sale of Israeli weapons to the Philippines.
"As early as February this year, the International Criminal Court has ordered the opening of an investigation against Duterte along with official complaints by citizens of the Philippines," Amnesty said in a statement.
"Instead of combatting a difficult social problem, his ‘war on drugs’ has caused untold damage and misery," the statement continued. "President Duterte’s policies – which include directly encouraging unlawful killing –have seen thousands of people murdered with total impunity amid growing lawlessness, with extrajudicial executions in homes and on the country’s streets still happening on a daily basis.
"It is not merely selling Israeli arms used for violations of human rights," the statement said. "As the liberal and human rights community around the world shows little patience toward the growing violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the government seeks to collaborate with the worst of regimes for political and diplomatic support in international and regional institutions."
A day earlier, Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg formally requested that Netanyahu reveal Duterte's full schedule for the visit, saying there was a lack of transparency surrounding the trip.
Duterte was accompanied at Yad Vashem on Monday by two Holocaust survivors who fled to the Philippines during the World War II and now live in Israel. Following his visit to the museum, Duterte will plant a tree next to one planted by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his recent visit.
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Duterte wrote in the museum's guestbook: "Never again. May the world learn the lessons of this horrific and benighted period of human history. May the hearts of peoples around the world remain ever open. And may the minds of all men and women learn to work together towards providing a safe haven for all who are being persecuted."
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