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Israel’s China Challenge

The question of how to deal with an increasingly assertive, powerful China has left many in the international arena baffled – including Israel.

Until recently, Chinese investment entering the Jewish state both in infrastructure and high technologies was viewed strictly through an economic lens. But recent developments, emerging in part from increasing U.S.-China tensions, have led Israel to ask questions about their relationship with the Eastern giant.

The Haifa port conundrum perhaps best illustrates the emerging concerns and confusion by Israelis regarding how to navigate their dealings with Beijing. In 2015, Shanghai International Ports Group won a tender to operate the newly constructed container terminal of the Haifa port for 25 years.

And until 2018, all seemed kosher.

SIGNAL Note 62: Unprecedented Speech By Mossad Chief


Dear friends and colleagues,

This morning, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen gave today an unusual speech, the first one of this kind ever given by an acting chief, a speech which reveals a bit of the organization’s activity and his views. I bring here a translation of a few paragraphs that seemed important to me. Sorry for the length of the thread.

[On the role of the Mossad in identifying and promoting opportunities for peace] The purpose of the Mossad is to protect the State of Israel from the danger of war, but in my opinion it has a no less important role: It is our task to identify opportunities for peace. And furthermore, to initiate moves that could bring peace closer.
Peace is a supreme value, and we apply our principles of war – including daring, creativity and striving for engagement with the enemy – to the battle for peace as well. We have been doing so for very many years.

Business as Usual? China’s Social Credit System

“Why did you bring me into the world to suffer?” Ren Chen, a 13-year-old boy from Hunan province, asked his mother after a decade of constant illness and two kidney surgeries. He is one of almost 300,000 children who fell ill after 22 companies, including state-owned dairy company Sanlu, laced their milk powder with melamine, a chemical used to make plastic.

Since then, Chinese children have been endangered by not one, not two, but three vaccine crises wherein eight infants died, two million improperly stored vaccines were illegally sold around the country, and at least 250,000 doses of substandard vaccines were administered to children. The pharmacist who sold two million improperly stored vaccines, Pang Hongwei, earned an estimated $11 million through her illicit activities. This was the second vaccine scandal Hongwei orchestrated. She was simply transferred to a different city after being caught the first time, even securing a new job as a sales employee at a pharmaceutical company.

Years of similar commercial scandals, Ponzi schemes, environmental disasters, and food safety scares have caused severe issues of consumer mistrust, setting the stage for the development of China’s social credit system (SCS).

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