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PH-Israel: fostering innovation to deepen 65 years of friendship

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On Sunday, the Philippines and Israel commemorated 65 years of friendship, strengthening already cordial and long-standing ties with further exchanges in the fields of development, business, and agriculture.

The two countries inked a number of agreements in the past year alone, ranging from a memorandum of understanding to start cooperative trade and investment activities to a cooperation pact in technical innovation, research, and development.

In June 2022, the “milestone” Philippine-Israel Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement was also signed, demonstrating the two countries commitment to fostering investment opportunities in, among other things, water management, agriculture, cybersecurity, the defense sector, smart transportation, manufacturing, and the development of the diamond industry.

Ilan Fluss, Israel’s ambassador to Manila, envisions even deeper commercial ties between the two nations in the future and believes that innovation is a potential area for future growth.

In a recent interview, he stated, “My vision is that we would build technological innovation bridges between Israel and the Philippines.”

For this, “we’re working hard on both the startup community and how we can create an interchange between startups and to attract Philippine startups into Israel,” the speaker continued.

Israel, as a center of innovation, may help the Philippines develop a more robust startup sector by providing training and advice on “internationalizing” Filipino businesses, according to Fluss.

Israel ranked first in the world for startups per capita in 2022 with over 6,000 active firms.

On the other hand, Israeli businesses might enter the Philippines and offer solutions that solve problems particular to that nation.

“[The Philippines] may help Israeli startups join the Philippines, modify what they’re doing to the issues in the Philippines which are different from Europe and the United States,” Fluss said. “Israeli startups who are normally focused more on the established markets.”

Hence, we wish to support their diversification and market entry in the Philippines. Hence, what we are doing in the embassy is a really significant effort, he continued.

The bond between Israel and the Philippines is based on enduring moral ties, with Manila having welcomed 1,300 Holocaust survivors in the late 1930s, long before Israel became a state.

One of the 33 nations that voted in support of a United Nations resolution in 1947 that established the State of Israel was the Philippines.

On August 9, 1957, the Philippines and Israel established formal diplomatic ties.

The Treaty of Friendship was finally signed by the two countries on February 26, 1958, with the goal of establishing “perpetual peace and stable and permanent peace.”

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