Israel should do more to ensure China does not steal its technology, US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said in his speech to the Knesset on Monday.
”Our innovation is at risk from a new threat: the Chinese Communist Party,” McCarthy warned. “While the CCP may disguise itself as promoters of innovation, in truth, they act like thieves. We must not allow them to steal our technology.”
McCarthy commended Israel for putting into place a process to review foreign investments in 2019, but added that he “strongly encourage[s] Israel to further strengthen its further oversight of foreign investment - particularly Chinese investment - building on the steps it first took…
“If we cooperate, then I am confident we will meet the challenge and ensure a brighter future for both of our nations,” he stated.
.@AmirOhana in English to @SpeakerMcCarthy: I would like to thank you…for your deep & longstanding friendship w Israel. From the beginning of your career you worked tirelessly to deepen ties…I am certain that the relationship btwn Knesset & congress will be stronger than ever.— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) May 1, 2023
McCarthy, who came to Israel with a delegation of 20 members of the US Congress, was the second House speaker to ever address the Knesset. The first was Newt Gingrich, who did so in 1998.
The delegation visited Israel to celebrate its 75th anniversary and demonstrate the strength of the US-Israel relationship even at a time of raised tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden over Jerusalem’s judicial reform proposal.
McCarthy highlighted the “miracle” of the rebirth of Israel in the modern era, quoting from Biblical prophecies and former US president John F. Kennedy.
The speaker hailed the shared values between the countries: “We are the only two countries in history that were conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that we are all equal.”
The Speaker described a gift he received from Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, a photo of an Israeli fighter pilot training in McCarthy’s hometown of Bakersfield, CA, where an American woman Elynor Rudnick trained pilots to fight in the 1948 War of Independence.
“Technically, the program was illegal, because Israel did not exist yet as a modern state and America was neutral. So why did these pilots do it?” He asked. “What compelled them to risk their lives to help reestablish the State of Israel?”
“We know the answer. It was faith and it was freedom. Those values are worth fighting for, even dying for,” McCarthy said.
Ohana, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid emphasized the need to stop Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.
The Knesset speaker said that “the Iranian regime - I differentiate between them and the Iranian nation that had good relations with the people of Israel in the past - is the enemy of the free world. They speak openly of wanting to destroy Israel and are tirelessly pursuing a nuclear weapon.
“When we say never again, we mean never again,” Ohana said.
Netanyahu said that combatting the Iranian threat “will continue to be Israel’s top priority” and thanked the US and McCarthy personally for military aid to Israel.
“Whatever disagreements we have at home,” Lapid said, “some things remain in consensus in this house. We all agree Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon; we all agree that we have to work together with you to make sure the nightmare doesn’t become reality.”
Iran is the primary threat to peace in the MIddle East, McCarthy said.
“Most of the region’s turmoil, violence, and instability can be traced back to that source, which continues to fund terrorism, arm its proxy militias, and pursue nuclear weapons,” the speaker stated. “We cannot allow the Iranian regime’s evil campaign to succeed. To deter Iran’s dangerous behavior, our nations must continue to stand united. We in the United States integrated Israel into our Central Command and are continuing to carry out military exercises together. As long as I am Speaker, America will continue to support full funding for security assistance in Israel.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder against Iran’s regional aggression, we must also remain resolute in our commitment that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons,” McCarthy stated.
Netanyahu pointed out that in recent weeks, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell visited Israel.
The visits from leaders in both American political parties are “an expression of the special relationship between Israel and the United States and strong bipartisan support for Israel from the American people,” Netanyahu said.
McCarthy met with Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog earlier Monday and visited Yad Vashem.