Tags: Israel | China

Former Israeli Spy Chief Warns Against Close Ties to China

Image: Former Israeli Spy Chief Warns Against Close Ties to China
Ephraim Halevy

By    |   Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:35 AM

As China boosts its economic ties with the Jewish state, prominent Israelis are warning against getting too close to the communist giant.

Former Mossad spymaster Ephraim Halevy has urged the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to develop plans to safeguard critical
Israeli assets from overexposure to China.

Halevy objected to proposals, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to permit China to build a railroad to Eilat, Israel’s southernmost port city, and to construct new facilities there. He expressed concern about the possibility of giving China “control over a main strategic artery in Israel.”

Former Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich last week criticized the recent sale to China of a majority share in
Tnuva, the country’s largest dairy products corporation.

“What normal country puts its food security and its entire milk industry in the hands of China?” she asked in a recent Knesset speech.

Despite such warnings, economic ties between Israel and China are rapidly growing – so much so that the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, has sought reinforcements to head off the possibility of espionage. Last year the spy agency ran advertisements for fluent Chinese speakers to work in the Tel Aviv area.

Last week, close to 400 Chinese government officials and businessmen spent five days in Israel discussing joint ventures and other business deals. Beijing’s delegation was headed by Vice Premier Liu Yandong, who inaugurated a $300 million research and education facility in Tel Aviv.

China’s investment in Israel has grown from virtually nothing in 2010 to more than $4 billion this year, The Washington Free Beacon reported. In the past year, both Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres have made official visits to China.

“We need to upgrade China’s industrial base and move to a high-tech economy,” said Shangyen Fen, director of a Chinese-Israeli investment company.  “Israel has the technology that China needs to move ahead.”

But Halevy has warned that closer ties to China may not be beneficial to Israel. The Economic Times
reported that last year he mentioned another reason not to enter into more partnerships with China: Beijing’s role in providing weapons and financial support to Israel’s enemies in Iran and Syria.

"China gives substantial support, at times massive, to the extremists from among our enemies. Twenty-two years of diplomatic experience have shown that China refused to respond to Israel's requests not to supply our enemies with means to further develop of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"China has shown that in all related to the war on Islamic extremis[t] terror, it is willing to put up [a] secure banking infrastructure for the use of terrorists who are active against Israel," the former Mossad chief warned.

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As China boosts its economic ties with the Jewish state, prominent Israelis are warning against getting too close to the communist giant.
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2014-35-28
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:35 AM
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