Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visits Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visits Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a ceremony at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a ceremony at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
The text written and signed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the guest book of Yad Vashem, Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
The text written and signed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the guest book of Yad Vashem, Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara visit the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara visit the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara lay a wreath during a memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara lay a wreath during a memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rekindles the eternal flame during a memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rekindles the eternal flame during a memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Picture: Oded Balilty/AP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a ceremony at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a ceremony at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Tel Aviv - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Adolf Hitler "insane" while at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Monday, a reversal from earlier comments in which he favourably compared himself to the Nazi leader.

"I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader. And I could not ever fathom the spectacle of a human being going on a killing spree, murdering old men, women, children," Duterte said.

"There is always a lesson to be learned. Despots and leaders who show insanity should, well, they should be disposed of," he added.

It was a change in tone for Duterte, who three months after taking office in 2016 likened himself to Hitler.

Duterte, 73, said at the time he would be "happy to slaughter" 3 million drug addicts in the same way that Hitler killed 6 million Jews.

"At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have..." he said, trailing off and then pointing to himself. He later apologized for his remarks.

Duterte's visit to Israel - the first ever by a Philippine leader - has been controversial, with criticism of the warm welcome the government has given to a leader accused of committing human rights abuses in his brutal war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

After arriving in Israel on Sunday, Duterte apologized to former US president Barack Obama in a speech for calling him a "son of a whore" in 2016.

Duterte added that he had "forgiven" Obama for criticizing his campaign against illegal drugs.

Duterte had lunch with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Israeli human rights activists urged President Reuven Rivlin to call off his planned meeting with Duterte on Tuesday and have vowed to protest if it takes place.

On Wednesday, the Philippine leader is to visit the Open Doors Monument, a memorial to Filipinos who saved Jews from Nazi persecution.

The Philippines and Israel are planning an agreement for Philippine carers working in the Middle Eastern country. Some 30,000 Filipinos work in Israel, particularly as carers for senior citizens.

Duterte will be in Israel until Wednesday, after which he visits Jordan until September 8.