MANILA (UPDATE) - Germany’s Adolf Hitler was the devil himself, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, as the two leaders met two years after the controversial Filipino leader compared himself to the Nazi leader.
“Hitler was actually representing the devil himself. He was the devil on earth,” Rivlin told Duterte as he recalled the dark period in history, where some 6 million Jews were executed on Hitler’s orders.
When it was his turn to speak, Duterte did not address Rivlin's comments on Hitler but thanked Israel for critical aid it had sent the Philippines during the Marawi siege.
Duterte’s visit to Israel comes two years after he compared himself to Hitler and said he would be happy to slaughter “3 million drug addicts” like what Hitler did to Jews.
Human rights groups have slammed the Israeli government’s invitation to Duterte. Manila has largely ignored protests on the President’s visit to the Jewish state.
As Duterte and Rivlin were holding a meeting, protesters gathered in front of the Israeli president’s office, Israeli media reported.
Duterte on Monday visited the Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
During his visit to the memorial, Duterte said the dark moment in history should never happen again.
He also criticized Hitler, saying “I could not imagine of a country [obeying] an insane leader.”
“We have learned so much along the years during the two wars. There is always a lesson to be learned and that despots and leaders who show insanity should be — well they should be disposed of at the first instance,” he added.
Rivlin said Duterte, after his Yad Vashem visit, “probably have realized the feelings… the atmosphere that were part of this disaster.”