The Growing Chinese-Israeli Relationship


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China has become a major destination for Israeli tourists and businessmen. Sino-Israeli relations have expanded beyond trade and economics, and currently include a degree of military ties and robust cultural and academic exchanges.  Despite the fact that the political climate between Beijing and Jerusalem is far from warm, the technological marvel that Israel has become is attracting the attention of the Chinese Communist leaders.

The Jerusalem Post reported on August 22, 2012 that the Israeli firm “SDE Sea Wave Power Plants, is concluding construction on its second plant, in a series of three, for China, which will generate 150 kilowatts per hour using the energy of ocean waves, and will be followed by a third such plant that generates 500 kW per hour.  In recent days, SDE signed a $1.2 million agreement with its Chinese partners for the export of the second plant to Guangzhou, said SDE.” Three weeks earlier, Chinese and Israeli officials signed an agreement on the second of two phases of a computational agriculture pilot project. The signing ceremony took place in Tel Aviv with Chinese officials and the executives of the Israeli company Agricultural Knowledge Online (AKOL).

When the Chinese Communist regime announced its latest Five-Year-Plan in 2011, it proclaimed to the world that China is no longer satisfied with being “the world’s factory,” and that it seeks to become one of the world’s innovators.  To do that, China’s leaders realized they must turn to the “Start Up” nation, which is the Jewish State of Israel. The Chinese are fully cognizant of the fact that neither the Arabs nor Iran (which provides them with raw energy) can provide them with innovative technology.

The Chinese government is currently on the wrong side of the Iran nuclear issue as far as Israel and the U.S. are concerned, and has had a long history of pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian posturing due to its dependence on Arab oil and as a legacy of the Cold War.  Israel, on the other hand, is seen by China as part of the West and closely associated with the U.S. (in 1999 Israel gave in to U.S. pressure to cancel the sale to China of the Phalcon – a sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft and, in 2004 Israel stopped the repair of the Harpy laser-guided drones it had sold to China).  The Chinese people however, admire the tenacity of the Jewish people and their survival against all odds.  They also marvel at the achievements of the Jewish State in spite of its small size.

China and Israel established diplomatic relations in January 1992 and are now marking 20 years of a growing relationship.  The bilateral trade between China and Israel stands at almost $10 billion, a 200-fold rise during these two decades. China is Israel’s third largest export market, with sales of everything from telecommunications and information technology to agricultural hardware, solar energy equipment, and pharmaceuticals.  More than 1000 Israeli companies operate in China. Trade is clearly a two-way street, and Chinese companies have been offered to bid on Israeli government contracts. And, Israel is negotiating with Chinese companies over the building of a high speed rail system from Tel Aviv to Eilat.

Wishing the Chinese people a Happy Year of the Dragon, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in March 2012:  “We are two ancient peoples whose values and traditions have left an indelible mark on humanity,” and added, “But we are also two peoples embracing modernity; two dynamic civilizations transforming the world.” China’s ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, responded by saying, “As two ancient civilizations, we have a great deal in common. Both of us enjoy profound histories and splendid cultures.”

In celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sino-Israeli diplomatic relations on January 24, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks included the following: “Israel and China are a successful combination because we are peoples rooted in glorious traditions that also embrace the future. The rise of modern China is one of the most important events of our time, as is the rise of modern Israel. We will never forget the goodwill of the Chinese people who provided shelter for persecuted Jews in the darkest hours (referring to those Jews who escaped Germany and Eastern Europe during WW II and found refuge in Shanghai). Millennia-old societies provide a strong basis for future cooperation in many fields. I believe that Israel and China can act together to ensure peace in the Middle East.”

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  • PermReader

    The good answer for the head-line is well-known Soviet-nazi cooperation in the military and technical sphears before the WW2.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Don't you mean the Socialist-Islamofascist non-aggression pact?

      The modern day equivalent of the Soviet SOCIALIST-national SOCIALIST non-aggression pact of 1939?

      Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Non-Aggres

    • Kufar Dawg

      Argument by false analogy. China isn't the USSR and Israel sure as hell isn't Nazi Germany fooliio.

  • Chezwick

    The Chinese are the ultimate pragmatists. They will embrace Israel for as long as doing so is beneficial,…and throw her under the bus the minute it suits them.

    • Silverfinger

      Don't confuse China with the Europeans nor with the Democrat party

      • Kufar Dawg

        Or the United States of Obamastan.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      I agree Chez.

      China has a strategy with building business deals with successful Western companies.

      When China gets all the intellectual property from their partner, they drop their partner and manufacture the device themselves.

      China is a BORG.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Hmmm. If China establishes strong economic ties to Israel I don't see why China would drop them. As long as they have a viable market for goods why would they?

  • Rifleman

    I'd be careful about the chicoms. They still proclaim themselves communist, with all that implies. They probably wouldn't be chicom now if bill clinton hadn't granted them most favored trading status and our entire patent databse.

  • http://littlenotesfromparis.blogspot.com.au/ Rita

    Good!

    It's not as if the Europeans would be much help in the existential threat that Israel and the Jewish people face from the hoards surrounding their embattled little state, as to Obama …well….so why not try new horizons! And I think at least both, the Chinese and the Jews have probably their work-ethic in common.

    As I said: GOOD !

    • Kufar Dawg

      Let's face it Europe is becoming Eurabia. Islamofascist states will never be allies with Israel. Turkey might have been close at one point, but not anymore.

  • Marty

    China has also begun to realize that the islamic menace in its western provinces is real and relentless. Israel is also forging a closer relationship with India, another country that is on the frontline facing muslim terrorism. Interestingly, the proportion of muslims in India is similar to the one in Israel and both communities regularly display political disloyalty as well as a tendency to identify more with those forces determined to destroy the democracies so painfully created and sustained in these societies. Not bad allies at all and certainly more determined than the anti-semitic and racist appeasers in Washington to confront the evil of islam.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Maybe. China has at least one senior minister who is muslim and tens of millions of muslim Ughyurs.

  • amused

    Aint it funny that renewable energy , which Israel is certainly the world's innovator , is recognized by the Chinese , and scoffed at by the Republican Party . Imagine "little " Israel leading the world in soar power innovation , sea-wave power generation , sea water desalinization , and oh that so foolish idea of windpower .Products of SCIENCE . And what do we have ? A nation half full of naysayers , deniers , opponents of science , who consider green technology an instrument of commies and marxists . China is simply sampling and courting any nation with technology that is superior for it's own benefit . As for the US , we are a good place to dump its low quality high profit goods ,and of course to buy T-bills and real estate cheap . I find the article ironic , given the position this blog has taken regarding renewable energy development in the U S ..I say the alleged Chinese concern over muslims is simply a red herring . But it looks like Marty above bit the hook .
    But at the end of the day China , India , Israel and the US all know , that when push comes to shove the U.S. will guarantee Israel's survival .

    • Jimi Belton

      Your last sentance i disagree with…..under normal conditions what you said is true, but with this Communist Muslen in our whitehouse, Israel is on its own…..Sink of swim……Osambo will not defend Israel…….Period….

    • teq

      "Imagine "little " Israel leading the world in soar power innovation , sea-wave power generation , sea water desalinization , and oh that so foolish idea of windpower .Products of SCIENCE "

      For once you said something sensible, Amused. Aside from natural gas, Israel lacks the natural resources of the US so it only makes sense for its scientists and entrepreneurs to develop and market alternate energy forms. And when they do [which they will, for Israelis are nothing if not innovative] no doubt China will be interested since it, too, is resource hungry and depends on unstable Islamofascist regimes. No doubt they can do business together.
      I strongly believe that the US should utilize its God-given energy sources but I look forward to the day when fossil fuels are replaced by something else and the oil glutted Muslim nations crumble back into the stone age. Without the need for oil, no one will give two craps about the Muslim crazies. Their castles are built on sand.

    • PaulRevereNow

      You're comparing apples to oranges. The problem with green energy in the U.S. is in the way we have chosen to develop it–very high cost undertakings with no near-term forseeable return. Example; Windmills in the Allegheny mountains–very high start-up cost; which is passed on to consumers; and very low return–windmills are intermittent sources of energy. Another example: The Chevy Volt–costs $245,000; and delivers very little-must be recharged every hundred miles. In addition, government in the U.S. gets in the way at every turn. Example: A man in Oregon was recently arrested for collecting rainwater from the roof of his own house. Israel, on the other hand, goes for efficiency immediately, and the Israeli government doesn't interfere. And the Chinese don't like the Muslims.(This issue is not a red herring)

    • Kufar Dawg

      Nah, the zero will never guarantee Israel's survival, at least not as a Jewish state. His actions speak louder than your lies.

  • dartson

    As long as China is dependent on the Middle Eastern oil and is in opposition to the US in its foreign policy, I don't expect any radical changes in China's pro-Iran position. Israel also has a technological cooperation with Russia (supplies UAVs to the Russian army) and with India, which does not prevent these states condemning Israel at UN time after time. And since China is not a democracy, winning hearts and minds of Chinese with regard to Israel will not affect its government policy.

  • Schlomotion

    So what? So the United States is supposed to throw on the Cee-lo and be mad that China is driving Israel around to the burger joint? You two kids have fun.

    • teq

      They'll do more than that Schlowy. Chinese and European Jews are both great entrepreneurs,, scholars, scientists and have higher IQs than the rest of Earthlings.. Chinese communities in other countries have often been persecuted and thrown out during periods of unrest because the natives were jealous of their success. In fact, there was a big Chinese community in Kenya before Independence. The liberator, Jomo Kenyata asked both the white and Chinese communities to stay after he became president of the new republic, promising them equal rights. Kenyata wanted their business expertise and the fact they provided jobs for Kenyans. But then, later on, he was pressured by other tribes to kick them out and finally reneged on his promise and told the Chinese to leave — and leave their property. I bet European Jews can relate to that. The guy who promises protection caves in when the pressure gets too high. However, it should be pointed out that Jomo Kenyatta established very friendly relations with the young Jewish state of Israel, which was only 12 years older than the new republic of Kenya. He felt that Israelis and Kenyans had something in common in that they had both struggled against the English for their freedom and they were both ancient civilizations who had become brand new states in the 20th century.
      Chinese and Jews seem to have similar values and work ethics. I'm not so sure about cultural affinity. It's my hunch that European Jews have more in common with European Americans. But there's nothing like expanding one's horizons. Another thing both peoples have in common is low rates of alcoholism since alcohol has been in their civilizations for 4,000 years and taken with meals or for ceremonial purposes, rather than to get sloshed drunk.

      As a diaspora, Jews have lived all over the world (almost — not Japan or Borneo) and prospered. Now it's time for the re-born Jewish State to establish strong relations with those countries. And even some Arab countries — the ones who are into business and arts instead of Allah. Like Qutar perhaps. I remember hearing that after the Oslo accords at least six small industrious Arab nations had early applied to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. They wanted the business and they knew Israel would be the technological engine of the Middle East, same way Germany is of Europe. But then the Oslo collapsed and they had to withdraw their applications.

      Maybe I'll sound like a cock-eyed optimist saying this, but there just could be a time in the next years, decades, when the Middle East will have finally figured out what to do with the Palestinians and the tyrannies will have turned into fairly civilized democracies and there will be free trade among all the Mid East nations, even between Israels and their old friends, the Persians (which will be a secular democracy once again, run by a leader like Cyrus.) And then neighborhood will go from being rough and chaotic to being a powerhouse of cultural economic activity and innovation. It happened several times in the past. Maybe it will happen again.

      Okay, I confess. I just heard some wonderful news from my sister in Florida who after trying with her husband for 15 years to have a child, finally gave birth today to a 7lb 10oz boy. My first nephew! We talked on the phone and shared a glass or two of champagne and so maybe the bubbles have gone to my head and made me a bit punchy. It's possible though that this neighborhood could one day settle down.. Think how many nations fought for centuries and then decided to work together instead. Europe — the most war-torn continent on earth for so many centuries gets along well today. Well, at least they don't shoot bullets and bombs at each other. England and France get into occasional food fights by boycotting each other's wine or sausage or whatever because of a tiff. But that hardly compares to the wars of centuries past.

      All this assumes that we are not approaching the End Days, and that we have many centuries to go before the Lord comes back to establish His Kingdom. Growing up I was told my parents and teachers not to try and find clues in Scripture as to when the Last Times would happen. People have been doing that for many, many centuries and have always ended up disappointed. I shall keep an eye out for the signs, but I won't draw any conclusions. Unless there is overwhelming evidence. Now I must go make travel plans for Florida, where I have been asked to be my nephew's godmother. (just one more glass of champagne ;-) Every time a new life appears on earth I feel a resurgence of hope for the human race. New Beginnings. A chance to raise a child who may grow up to change the world. One never knows.

      • Schlomotion

        Thank you for that outpouring of humanity and optimism, and my sincere, heartfelt congratulations to your sister. You must be very happy. I agree with what you say, and I too hope very much so that the neighborhood does in fact settle down and get along, prosper and forget all this nonsense. Have an excellent trip!

      • Kufar Dawg

        Yeah, islamofascism will just disappear and we'll all sing kumbaya. 1400 years of unending islamofascist violence, oppression, ethnic cleansing and genocide say differently. I really don't think you'd be willing to bet on your prediction coming true either and G-d knows I hope no one who determines national policy in Israel does.

        • Schlomotion

          Kumbaya is actually a pretty good song. I think we will. Kumbaya is good advice too. You should get around more. You should let a little more love in your heart.

  • Martin

    "kW per hour" is an incorrect phrase. It should be "kW."

  • satlan420

    when the chinese launched their satellite killer missile, who was the only non chinese sitiing in the crowd
    not an american
    not a russian
    not an iranian, or any arab for that matter
    it was fmr pm olmert

  • Stan Lee

    The Israeli-Chinese relationship could be a natural. I remember as a young man dating, I took a young lady to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, Phila. This was in the '60's. When we arrived, it was very busy and there was a waiting line for seating, which we accepted because that restaurant was recommended as top-drawer.
    Right ahead of us were a group of elderly Jewish people, waiting patiently too. After a while, a little Jewish grandmom-type turned around, looked me square in the eye and said, "Young man, I never see Chinese people eating here….so, where do they eat?" In a humorous mood, I responded"I believe they go to a Jewish restaurant on South St." She looked at me and broke out with a big smile, a laugh, then told that to six other elderly folks and we all laughed. We forgot about the wait, it became a pleasure.

  • gupta

    I don't trust Obama in this picture. I pray he gets out on his a…

  • Maurice H Bank

    The question is does China vote for or against Israel in the U.N. Is the relationship strong or just a business one, as everyone seems to feel…

  • Singaporean Ah Beng

    The Chinese are nicknamed as the Jews ofthe East, because they share similar work ethics. And used to be persecuted by others. They now also share similar threats in islamic terrorism. Israel and China have much to benefit by working closely together.

  • Ling Yao

    Well, China out of necessity HAS to ally with the Islamic nations for strategic bulwarks against rivals and sheer necessity for oil. Maybe in another time and another place a true friendship might be possible, but as it is, there is little practical reality.

    • Bruce Li

      The biggest internal threat facing China are the Islamist terrorists in their western provinces. Israel and China should be natural allies facing a common threat.

  • deb

    i don't know any country that isn't pragmatic…. or for that matter any person that isn't doing things without having an interest out of it.

  • http://Iwasbornandraisedinchina RandomWalking

    and I can totally relate to that we Chinese people admire the accomplishments the Jewish people have achieved with their relatively small population. Jewish people are considered highly intelectual, determined and hard working by general public in China. There has been long rooted appreciation of Israel the nation, Its people, and their aids in technology etc to China. With the Islamic terriorists image and east Turkish separatists relentless causing trouble in xinjiang, you would think general public are highly more pro Israel instead of the Islamic world. However this kind of comparison is rarely brought up and discussed in public but instead always discouraged by the government. Chinese government need the Arabic countries with their oil, and more importantly IMHO its need islamic countries as allies to counter the western. Israel on the other hand is a close us ally. Despite mutual appreciation and active cooperation in business and technology, I don’t see the two nations get too close politically any time soon.

  • daniel siegel

    im not at least in a state of wonder, jews invented communism and stalin was a jew and was the biggest idol of mao, stalin helped mao communist brothers between and stalin was a jew. israel is built upon the marxist ideas and execute people in a very communist way so does china. so they are equal partners in busniess and in politics, china has alot to thanks the jewish people for, they gave them marx and communism. well, after the zion protocols they state very clearly they will arm themselves with weapons of china to bring down the world under the illuminated red flag of communism. i guess it already begun?