On his first day in Israel for an official visit, Vice President Jejomar Binay met Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem where he urged ranking Israeli officials to explore new trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines.

“The Philippine-Israel bilateral trade represents a very small percentage of the overall Israel-Asia two-way trade. I hope that our strengthening bilateral relations translate to more investments between our countries,” Binay said.

Binay said the Philippines could benefit from Israel’s technological advances in agriculture and food production. He also said he wants to learn how the Philippines could attract technology transfer and further investments from Israel to the Philippines.

“I am happy to note that Filipino agricultural workers are being exposed to Israeli agricultural technology that is considered among the best in the world,” Binay said.

“I hope that more Philippines fresh produce such as pineapples and coconuts would find its way into the mainstream Israeli retail market. The Embassy has initiated the mechanism for the approval of pineapple importation to Israel in coordination with the Israel Ministry of Agriculture,” he added.

While in Israel, Binay is set to attend a dinner meeting with Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss regional developments. He is also expected to meet with Israeli business groups to reinvigorate the overall trade relations between the two countries.

The Vice President will also lay a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem to pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust. He will also go to the Rishon Lezzion Municipality and visit the Open Doors Monument which honors the Philippines’ humanitarian act of providing refuge to Jews during the Holocaust.

Binay will also be meeting the Filipino community in Beit Dani, Tel Aviv. He is also slated to attend the inauguration of the Philippine Square at the City of Haifa and meet Mayor Yona Yahav of Haifa city in honor of the sister-city relations between Haifa and Manila.

Before going to Israel, Binay was in Rome to witness the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod. Before that, he was the representative of President Benigno S. Aquino III at the 2012 European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium and was in Luxembourg to meet with officials of the European Investment Bank.