Beit Yaacov Synagogue, The Jewish Association of the Philippines, Makati City
October 4, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte celebrated the Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah, with the Jewish community at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City.

The President started his speech with an apology to the Jewish community, and said that he should not have involved the Jewish people.

He spoke about his administration’s efforts to curb illegal drugs in the country, explaining how the crisis is greatly affecting the Filipino people.

The President added how the illegal drugs evolved into narco politics, saying, “If I do not interdict now, I will have a failed state by the next generation.”

He explained that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was ordered to arrest criminals and to shoot when their life is threatened, or if the criminals have violent intentions.

He ended his visit by asking the Jewish community to “please accept my apology… We will always be friends.”

The President was accompanied in the event by Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Communications Operations (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar, and Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Mr. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

The Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines, H.E. Effie Ben Matityau, was also present in the celebration, as well as Rabbi Eliyahu Azaria of the Jewish Association of the Philippines.

Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish tradition. It marks the start of the ten days of judgment that ends with Yom Kippur or ‘Day of Atonement’, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar.

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