Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg / Flash 90
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

For the first time in 56 years, an Israeli foreign minister has arrived in Manila for a visit to the capital of the Philippines.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen began a historic visit to the Philippines and South Korea on Sunday, with the aim of strengthening relations with Southeast Asia. The foreign minister recently completed a similar visit to India.


During the visit, Cohen is expected to meet with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his counterparts, the Philippine Foreign Minister Enrique Manelo and the South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin. On the agenda will be talks aimed at expanding ties in security and economy.

The leaders are expected to sign agreements in the fields of security, trade and innovation.

This is the first visit of an Israeli foreign minister to the Philippines since 1967 (when the late Abba Eben visited Manila).

Cohen is leading two business delegations organized by the Economic Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Export Institute and the Israeli embassies in Manila and Seoul.

The business delegation to the Philippines will focus on agriculture, water, energy and cleantech, security and cyber, emergency preparedness and health.

The business delegation to South Korea will focus on the fields of automotive, robotics, smart factories, artificial intelligence and Augmented Reality (AR).

During the visit, the foreign minister will also open business seminars in Manila and Seoul.

“The visit to the Philippines and South Korea will create policy opportunities for Israel in this important space,” Cohen said.

“Asia is a continent with tremendous potential, and of great importance to Israel and its economy.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.