NEW YORK – The Israel Project, a nonprofit educational organization that aims to
provide facts about Israel and the Middle East to the public, is stepping up its
efforts in China in order to forge an understanding and create a strong
relationship between China and Israel.
“The Israel-China relationship is
critical to the future, and we are proud to launch this program, which will give
facts and insights to Chinese reporters and leaders,” said the group’s
president, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.
This new venture is headed by Alex
Pevzner, who spent nine years in Asia and worked as a reporter for Dow Jones
Newswires’ Taipei bureau. Pevzner studied international relations and East Asian
studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has also studied modern
Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing and classical Chinese at National
Taiwan Normal University.
In broad terms, Pevzner said, the new China
endeavor has several discrete goals. One is to “ensure that China exercises
political power in favor of – or at least provision for – Israel’s physical
security,” Pevzner explained. The project is also meant to foster Sino-Israeli
cooperation in economic and military sectors, particularly with regard to
hi-tech, agri-tech and new sustainable energy sources.
Israel and China
did not establish official diplomatic relations until 1992, when Israel’s
embassy opened in Beijing. Israel has had consulates in Shanghai and Hong Kong
Since then, economic and commercial connections have taken
root, with Israeli trade representative offices located in both southern and
The greatest cooperation between the two countries
economically focuses on agricultural technology, venture capital and green
technology, The Israel Project’s research states, with bilateral trade between
Israel and China standing at $4.6 billion in 2009.
between the two nations have facilitated economic ties. As of 2010, according to
The Israel Project, the Israeli government has given China $1b. in preferential
government loans. Another $550 million has been used for various projects in 29
different regions in China.
Agreements on joint research and development
initiatives have also been signed by the two countries.
$3m. in aid to China after the Sichuan Province earthquake of May 2008. The aid
was made possible by Israeli company donations, the Israel Defense Forces and
United Israel Appeal, and consisted of supplies such as medical equipment,
tents, blankets, water purification systems and medicine. China turned down
Israel’s offers to send an extraction and rescue team and field
As The Israel Project’s Laura Kam, director of global affairs,
wrote in The Jerusalem Post, “because China’s interests in the Middle East are
relatively recent, and Israel is still largely a blank slate to most Chinese, we
have a real opportunity to make a significant impact on its decision- making and
views concerning us and the wider Middle East. A deeper understanding of Israel
and the context of its actions will lead to policies that will make us more
secure and enhance prospects for closer bilateral
Counterterrorism methods are also a common goal of the two
nations, according to The Israel Project.
The Chinese Ministry of Public
Security issued its first listing of internal terrorist organizations in 2003,
four of which have links with al-Qaida: the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement,
Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization, World Uyghur Youth Congress and the
East Turkistan Information Centre. The Chinese government blames these
organizations for the 1997 attacks on the Chinese Embassy and consulate in
Ankara and Istanbul.
There are nearly 10,000 Jews living in China, and
eight Chabad-Lubavitch centers.