We see eye-to-eye with the Americans on China and 5G - Hendel

“We will do what is good for Israel, and it is good for Israel to be in full cooperation with our greatest ally in the world, the United States,” Hendel added.

US Ambassador to Israel meets with Yoav Hendel and Zvi Hauser from Telem  (photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
US Ambassador to Israel meets with Yoav Hendel and Zvi Hauser from Telem
(photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel affirmed that Israel stands with America on its concerns over China and 5G internet networks, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
The US has been urging its allies not to use Chinese companies to build their 5G networks, warning that they will use their involvement in building the infrastructure for espionage or possibly sabotage of communications infrastructure.
Asked about the American warnings, Hendel responded: “We see eye-to-eye with the Americans on our shared values and interests. We are in direct discussions with representatives of the American government about all of our shared interests, including communications infrastructure.
“We will do what is good for Israel, and it is good for Israel to be in full cooperation with our greatest ally in the world, the United States,” Hendel added.
Read the full interview with Hendel, in which he argues that moving to advanced Internet infrastructure is more important than ever in the coronavirus-age, in Friday’s Post.
Hendel’s comments came as the US has repeatedly warned Israel against allowing Chinese companies to participate in major infrastructure projects and called for allies to reduce economic ties to China more broadly.
The US is also concerned that Israel does not have a sufficiently robust system of evaluating the security risks of foreign investments in major infrastructure and technology. Israel has a committee on foreign investments established late last year, but its recommendations are non-binding.
A US official said last month that “the Israeli government is trying to have it both ways with us. It wants approval for annexation and the continuation of beneficial economic, diplomatic and security ties, while opening the door to China in critical infrastructure projects [such as] 5G and the [Tel Aviv] light rail.”
In May, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman chose Hendel as the first minister with whom he held a meeting in the new government. The unusual choice of a non-senior minister from the Derech Eretz faction, which only has two seats, shows how much of an emphasis the US has put on discouraging allies from using Chinese companies to build 5G networks.
In early June, a government tender committee began reviewing bids to build Israel's 5G networks. Israeli mobile operators were able to compete for the tender in joint proposals with foreign companies. The winning operators would receive grants of up to NIS 200 million ($56m.) for constructing at least 250 5G broadcasting antennas.

Eytan Halon contributed to this report.