SIGNAL Note 33

An Interview with Dorian Barak, CEO of Indigo-Kuangchi

Israel supports the long-term vision and ambitious policies of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in a variety of ways. A key avenue of engagement with China and the BRI is with leaders from Israel’s banking and private investment sectors. They bring their vast domestic and global experience to the China-Israel relationship and strengthen China’s tech foundations through identifying and facilitating Israeli technology acquisitions. One of these leaders is Dorian Barak, CEO of Indigo- Kuangchi and a member of SIGNAL’s Board of Academic and Expert Advisors. SIGNAL was pleased to interview Barak for the SIGNAL Note series. In it he shares his insights from years of business experience in the field.

SIGNAL Note 32

Smart Mobility Industry


As China enters the field of automotive tech, the emerging Israeli smart mobility industry could provide vital technology and experience to further broaden Chinese innovation. Autonomous vehicles are currently being developed through partnerships between Chinese and Israeli tech companies. Self-driving cars entering the market promise to transform methods of transportation for the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and improve urban life. Intelligent and connected vehicles shift the focus of the global transportation industry to wide-ranging international economic cooperation to promote connectivity, efficiency, environmental improvement, and quality of life.

The cultivation of smart mobility startups across Israel provides further potential collaborations that could continue to enhance Sino-Israeli relationships. Israeli cutting edge technology startups could help China reach its goal of creating a commercial market of intelligent, autonomous vehicles not only in China but in BRI nations. Israeli-Chinese partnerships in this sector furnish opportunities for the cyber-economy to be expanded. These partnerships can also help build competition in national monopoly sectors. Enhancing competition and expanding economic development in the cyber sphere are both goals of the 13th Five-Year Plan.

SIGNAL Note 31

Israel’s Innovative Digital Health Sector, and its Applications to the BRI


As China develops its digital healthcare system and promotes impactful policy coordination across the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), turning towards Israeli innovation could enable win-win cooperation. On the domestic front, the digital health sector will help advance objectives stated in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. This includes the distribution of health resources and the promotion of healthcare quality at the local level. On the international front, advancing the digital health sector can solidify China’s geopolitical role as a global leader in healthcare reform. Forming a model healthcare template for nations participating in the BRI is important given that the initiative promotes cooperation in scientific and cultural exchange to improve the quality of life in health and medicine of all citizens in BRI nations.

With Israel’s advancements in medical technology and digital health, the Sino-Israel partnership will apply the uniqueness of Israel’s innovation market, and will alleviate inefficiencies in China’s healthcare system. Thus, potential business-to-business (B2B) cooperation in this area will be a compelling means to promote progress in Sino-Israel relations.

SIGNAL Note 30

The Herzliya Conference – An Opportunity for the BRI in the Middle East

The Herzliya Conference (HC) is Israel’s premier policy event dealing with national, regional and global Western geopolitics. China and the BRI would benefit from having an increased presence at the HC. Throughout its seventeen-year history, the HC has addressed the most vital and strategically relevant regional issues from Arab Spring to ISIS, from US-Israel relations to waning US presence in the Middle East to discussing solutions to strife and refugees, regional instability and broader economic cooperation.

In recent years the HC has focused on global issues regarding the US, EU, NATO States such as rising global terror and multilateral economic development. The HC has been the epicenter of debate on globally significant issues from ‘Emerging Economic and Strategic Trends’, ‘The Age of Permanent Technological Revolution’ to domestic matters such as “Economic Resilience, Inequality and Public Corruption’ and ‘Personal Security and National Resistance.’

The annual conference continues to serve as an essential forum for debate and discussion in Israel on such topics as national identity politics, trade relations with Europe and the developing national energy sector. The HC has been extensively covered in Israeli and international media as it often hosts western leaders such as United States Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger (2016) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (2012) (pictured left) to British Prime Minister Tony Blair (2017) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (2009) diplomats such as Amb. Bilahari Kausikan (2011) and Amb. Robert Hutchings, Former Director of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC); Dean, LBJ School of Public Affairs (2015) as well as globally security experts such as Nicola de Santis, Head, Middle East and North Africa Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, NATO (2017) and Amos Hochstein, Former Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (2017). The HC has become the venue for major Israeli strategic speeches and a focal point for influential voices to broadly engage with the Israeli public.’

SIGNAL Note 29

Modi in Israel: A new era for Indo-Israeli Relations

Hindu-Jewish affinity

Each year, over 60,000 Israelis travel to India –many of them “unwinding” in the country after completing military service. Their presence is highly visible across much of the country. Indeed, the “giant shadow” Israelis cast in India is wildly disproportionate to the miniscule dimensions of their homeland. In some outlying locations, Israelis comprise a dominant percentage of foreign visitors. Even in central sites such as the main market in Old Delhi it is not uncommon to see Hebrew signs and encounter merchants able to converse with Israeli customers in fairly fluent Hebrew.

That Israelis seem to feel an instinctive affinity for India should perhaps not be surprising. Its history is virtually devoid of antisemitism. Indeed, the only significant incidents were the Moors’ attack on the Jews in 1524 and the Portuguese persecution of Jews in Cranganore (now the Kerala coast) some years later. Moreover, many Indian Jews achieved great prominence, among them the Sassoons (for whom the Sassoon docks, the Sassoon hospital, and other well-known sites have been named), Dr. E. Moses (a Jewish mayor of Bombay), Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacobs (a general in the Indian Army who oversaw the Pakistani Army’s 1971 surrender in Bangladesh and later served as governor of Goa and Punjab), Nissim Ezekiel (a poet/leading Indian literary personality), and Dr. Abraham Solomon Erulkar (the personal physician/friend of Mahatma Gandhi).

SIGNAL Note 28

Asian Studies Programs in Israeli universities, Bridging the Cultural Divide

China recognizes that cultural communication is part and parcel to successful economic relations and so encourages area studies. China’s Ministry of Education recently implemented a program to establish Middle East Study Centers at universities to encourage deeper understanding of the countries in that region. Likewise, the field of Asian Studies in Israel has grown exponentially over the past five years.

The field of Asian Studies within the Israeli university system represents a critical vehicle to broaden Israel’s understanding of countries in the Orient. The most popular and fastest growing nation study within Asian Studies Programs is Chinese Studies. The strong interest by Israel’s youth to connect to China is revealed in the growth of the Chinese Studies departments at Israel’s universities. The study of China is the fastest growing field in the humanities, doubling in matriculation year on year over the past few years. Students seek a cultural, historic and linguistic understanding that is essential for building lasting connections with China. The area study contributes to students developing a more comprehensive worldview while enhancing Sino-Israeli bonds and laying the foundation for more comprehensive cooperation in the future.

SIGNAL Note 27

The Volcani Center: facilitating closer Sino-Israeli agricultural partnerships

Rising global demand on agricultural production is generating innovative and ecologically friendly solutions to the age-old issues of increasing production and efficiency in resource management. Israel’s the Volcani Center has become an international hub for this cutting edge agricultural research. By providing a pipeline for creative products, technologies and algorithms to help alleviate resource waste while increasing production, Israeli agricultural developments are helping end global strife and revitalizing farming practices across the world. To give context to how the Volcani Center’s innovations can continue to impact China and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), SIGNAL Note 27 will focus on the potential for expanded agricultural cooperation between Beijing and Jerusalem.

Through the conduit of the Volcani Center, the research arm of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, Israeli advancements are increasing crop production while lessening waste and inefficiency in fertilizer distribution, irrigation and pest control techniques. Israel brings to the global market technological innovations. This essay aims to draw clear connections between the these innovations and the major projects across China and the countries participating in the BRI. SIGNAL Note 27 will illuminate how the prospects for a more comprehensive Sino-Israeli exchange can be fostered through the development of Israeli agricultural technologies.

SIGNAL Note 26

WannaCry May 2017 Cyber Attack: How Israel Survived

The World’s Biggest ever Cyber Attack
On Friday 12th of May 2017 unknown hackers set about executing the world’s largest ever cyber-attack. The attack, known as “WannaCry,”used ‘ransomware’ to paralyze more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including those that run Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s national railway and other companies and government agencies worldwide, in was the biggest online extortion scheme ever.

In China, more than 29,000 institutions were hit across the country. Universities and educational institutions were among the hardest hit, numbering 4,341, or about 15 percent of internet protocol addresses attacked. Also affected were railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services. Among the victims of the attack was PetroChina, whose system was hit by the virus which disabled the ability for customers to pay with cards.

SIGNAL Note 25

25 Years of formal relations between Israel & China

Shared history and mutually vested economic interests facilitate the creation of deep bilateral ties. In the case of the Sino-Israeli dynamic, the past 25 years of formal diplomatic ties have seen the realization of both cultural and economic exchange expand exponentially. To highlight just how far and expansive cooperation between Beijing and Jerusalem have come in our brief official relationship, this SIGNAL Note will look back on 25 years of diplomatic relations, and the potential impact Sino-Israeli collaboration could have on the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

Reflecting the nature of the Sino-Israeli exchange, a notable development has been the important technological advancements and investments from Israeli startups into the Chinese market. Another reflection of advancing relations between the Jewish State and the Middle Kingdom are academic cooperation, high level diplomatic interactions and the economic & technological complementarity of the Israeli and Chinese systems. In line with the core aims of the SIGNAL Note series, we will expound upon the strategic role Israeli experts and exports could play in the implementation of the BRI and Chinese domestic goals as outlined in the 13th 5-year plan.

In essences this SIGNAL Note 25 aims to commemorate 25 years of formal diplomatic ties between the Israel and China and reflect upon the impact these ties could have on the advancement of China’s broader international policy projections and investments.

SIGNAL Note 24

Israel’s innovative FinTech and its applications within the BRI


China is changing the global economic landscape in terms of sheer foreign direct investment (FDI) and infrastructural development. In the context of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), financial integration, unimpeded trade and policy coordination have proven essential in expanding international markets and building new systems of finance. To reach the impressive aims of the BRI various technologies, algorithms, and innovative approaches developed within the Israeli FinTech Startup community could be game changing as the PRC pursues the “Chinese Dream” towards a moderately prosperous society. As China spurs financial growth and institutional expansion within Asia and the Middle East, the implementation of Israeli originated Financial Technologies (FinTech) could dramatically impact millions of individuals and thousands of corporations in regards to increased financial accessibility and economic development.

Aiming to support the broader policy aims of the BRI, Israeli FinTech solutions could alleviate many complex financial issues already facing the massive Belt & Road projects across the globe. Giving credence to the complementarity of Israeli FinTech and Chinese policy directives, this SIGNAL note will briefly explain the diverse range of FinTech applications within the BRI. We will outline the core aims of FinTech while highlighting market ready solutions to these sectors found in the Israel’s Silicon Wadi.

Additionally, as a result of the consistent requests for more information on the topics addressed in the SIGNAL Note we will now add a section of additional resources to give readers greater depth on the assortment of technologies and innovations covered within (look for these links at the end of the Note) as well as a selection of recent SIGNAL Publications now accessible on the SIGNAL website.

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The SIGNAL Note is a Chinese-English publication by SIGNAL's researchers on Israel and the Belt & Road Initiative.