Israeli ambassador thanks Filipino caregivers for helping Israel fight COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Oct) – Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz has recognized the heroism of Filipino caregivers for helping the Israeli government combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz. Screen grab from the Israeli Embassy Facebook page

During a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Harpaz said there are 35,000 Filipino caregivers, many of them Mindanawons, who are taking care of the elderly Israelis and persons with disabilities amid the raging virus outbreak in Israel.

“I wanna thank you, by the way, for the 30,000 Filipino caregivers who are living in Israel, many of them from Mindanao and Davao City. I wanna seize the opportunity to thank them—the Filipinos in Israel—during this moment of crisis, for helping us. I wanna praise especially those from Mindanao, from Davao,” he said.

According to the website of Israel’s Ministry of Health, there have been 274,423 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,771 deaths as of Tuesday.

The ambassador said the Israeli government has provided the Filipino caregivers with free full medical services and equal access to the medical technologies.

“I would say that OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in Israel are amazing. My mother is very old. She has older friends who are taken care of by Filipinos. Unfortunately, among those we lost during COVID are our elderly Israelis. I can see how the Filipinos are treating them,” he added.

Harpaz said that their government has also opened geriatric institutes where most the elderly Israelis are housed, under the care of Filipino workers.

“In Israel, many of the elderlies are in geriatric institutes, not at homes. And one of the major sensitivities and challenges for us during COVID was the spread of COVID to geriatric institutes. So we decided to open it for the first time for OFWs,” he added.

Harpaz added that in 2018, during the visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the government of Israel signed an agreement with the Philippine government to improve the working conditions of the Filipinos there.

The Israeli government opened its Mindanao consular office in Davao City on Tuesday. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)