News Release

Israeli gov’t committed to facilitating safe exit of Filipinos from Gaza, says Israel’s ambassador to PH

Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss made an assurance Friday that his country will facilitate the safe exit of Filipinos in Gaza today or tomorrow after Filipino and Israeli officials discussed allowing Filipinos to cross the Rafah Crossing going to Egypt.

“We had a phone call yesterday between our ministers and we have different communication lines between Israel and the Philippines, close countries, friendly relations, and we’ve seen also they’ve voted, the Philippines in the United Nations. And we will do everything from our part in order to facilitate the safe exit of Filipinos that are in Gaza,” Fluss said during a press briefing facilitated by the Israeli Embassy in Manila via Zoom.

“We have to remember that we are in a war. It is also… there are also other players in this complicated situations such as UN, such as Egypt. And crossing to Egypt, Israel is not controlling that border but certainly for the Israeli point of view, we would do everything we can in order to facilitate that safe exit of the Filipinos from Gaza.”

Fluss however clarified that Israeli authorities will only allow Filipinos to exit Gaza, not including their Palestinian spouses. Fluss vowed to do their best to facilitate the safe exit of the Filipinos, which could happen today or tomorrow.

During a Palace briefing, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in the Israeli government promised to allow Filipinos to leave Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing this weekend.

The Rafah Crossing Point is the sole crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, located on the Gaza-Egypt border. It was recognized by the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Meanwhile, Fluss was asked about the safety measures for Israelis amid the growing anti-Semitism in Mindanao and in other parts of the world. He said it is a concern for Israel, stressing, however, that it is not the embassy’s responsibility to ensure the security of Israeli citizens in the Philippines.

“It’s very important to say that the embassy is not responsible for the safety and security of citizens and people living in the Philippines. This is not our responsibility. It’s the responsibilities, of course, of the authorities here in the Philippines,” Fluss told reporters.

“And we are calling on the international community and international leaders to invest and to do what they can in order to fight anti-Semitism.”

He said anti-Semitism grew by 1,200 percent globally in the last few weeks and it’s not only coming from Muslim communities but also from other non Muslim communities.

Israel declared war against Gaza-based Hamas militant group following its October 7 rampage in southern Israel that left more than 1,000 Israelis dead.

The militants also took some 230 hostages with them who are now being held captive most probably under underground tunnels in Gaza, authorities said. PND