Jobs in tourism, domestic care await Ilonggos in Israel

ISRAELI Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz (right) meets Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III at the City Hall on June 4, 2019. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ISRAELI Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz, during his visit to Iloilo City on June 4, 2019, underscored their country’s need for more caregivers.

Harpaz particularly encouraged Ilonggos to apply.

“We need more caregivers. You have wonderful people or Ilonggos as you call them. We need them to come,” he said in an interview after his courtesy call with lloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III at the Iloilo City Hall on Tuesday.

The Israeli Ambassador also revealed that they will soon be opening job opportunities for Filipinos in the tourism sector.

“We are soon going to open opportunities for Filipinos to work in the tourism sector. We signed a government-to-government agreement after President Rodrigo Duterte went to Israel but I think it is still in the process of ratification,” he said.

With a population of 9 million, Harpaz said Israel needs more people to take care of the tourists who visit the Holy Land.

“We had 4.2 million tourists last year but we have only 9 million people so who will take care of the tourists. Everybody wants to go the Holy Land. Our agreement is still in the process of ratification but I think the first 2,000 Filipinos can work in tourism and they can also visit as tourists,” he said.

Harpaz also expressed his gratitude for Filipinos who work as caregivers in their country.

“I would also like to thank the Philippines because we have so many caregivers from the Philippines and including from Iloilo that takes care of our beloved parents and grandparents. We would like very much to thank you. We treat them well, they have their restaurants, churches, they get paid well and it’s something very important to us,” he said.

The Israeli Ambassador’s visit to Iloilo City is part of their “efforts to widen their relations with the organizations and cities across the nation”.

“Our purpose is to deepen and widen our relations with Iloilo. We also want to explore and learn first what you have to offer as well as bring more Israelis here and also bring more Filipinos to Israel,” Harpaz added.

Harpaz also intimated their plans to deepen their cooperation with Iloilo City particularly by sharing their experiences in technology, agriculture, and fisheries.

“We can deepen our cooperation in technologies. Israel has a lot of experience we are a start-up nation and it’s something that we want to widen and share our experiences with you,” he said.

During his visit, the Israeli Ambassador also said he was impressed particularly by the architectural design of the heritage buildings in the metro.

“When I first came, I saw the architecture. I am inspired to come back here in January to witness your fiesta. The city has an amazing culture and it something that we want to get more in Israel. It’s also a smoke free city which is very important,” he said.

Harpaz said his visit to Iloilo reminds him of the relationship of their country and the Visayas.

“When I am here in Iloilo, it reminds me how our relation is so special. In 2013, we were here in Visayas in Yolanda. Israel conducted the biggest ever relief operation and hundreds of Israeli soldiers, doctors, nurses came here,” he noted.