SIGNAL Note 11


Shifts in the dynamic: Israel & Saudi Arabia relations and its potential effect on the BRI & Sino-Israel relations

The summer of 2016 saw important signs of significant changes in relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab world. These events are not the catalyst for but the result of an evolving Middle East. China’s 13th 5 year plan emphasizes the importance of building cooperation across all sectors to foster personal bonds which, if implemented effectively can enable regional stability and produce a less risky environment for investment and the core aims of the BRI. As such, China would surely take great interest in the improving relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab countries.

To illustrate the nature of these developments, this SIGNAL note will focus on recent shifts in the relationship between Israel & Saudi Arabia, the implications of closer Saudi Arabia-Israel ties, and its potential effect on the BRI & Sino-Israel relations. Two important events provide insight into how the shift in relations is occurring, and its impact on China.

Gen Anwar Eshki, center, at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 22, 2016

SIGNAL Note 10


‘Sustainable Food System’s Conference’ hosted by the Manna Center for Food Safety & Security: Food Security applications in the BRI

Food security and sustainable ecology stand as a significant tenet in the viability of a society in the twenty-first century. As the 13th 5-year plan has indicated, China is invested in facilitating food security and sustainable ecology to promote its ascension to a ‘moderately prosperous society” by 2021. This SIGNAL note will focus on the June 20-21 ‘Sustainable Food System’s Conference’ hosted by the Manna Center for Food Safety & Security. This Note intends to reflect on some of the practical lessons and processes necessary in ‘sustainable; agriculture, environment and nutrition, and express their possible applicability to Chinese markets. We aim to present that innovative Israeli know-how can promote increased food security and safety in a variety of settings. To best convey this idea we will focus on two of the most impactful panels at the conference- “The future of farming in Israel” & “Food policy and the sustainable development goals” to illustrate how creative and unique approaches can enable a better and more cohesive food security strategy in China and beyond.



Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak explains the reasons for the ongoing talks between Turkey and Israel

SIGNAL Fellow, and guest writer for the SIGNAL Note, Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak explains the reasons for the ongoing talks between Turkey and Israel to restore full diplomatic relations. As two key nations on the developing Belt & Road initiative, the impending reestablishment of full diplomatic relations bodes well for cooperation with China on developing both the land belt and the maritime road. The following essay was written by Mr. Yanaorocak who accompanied SIGNAL Founder/Executive Director, Carice Witte to Beijing, Shihezi and Kunming as part of SIGNAL’s delegation in September 2015. Mr. Yanarocak is a Junior Researcher at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel aviv university. This essay was first published in its Tel Aviv Notes.

Israel and Turkey are close to reestablishing full diplomatic relations, which were severed during the Mavi Marmara flotilla crisis in 2010. This reconciliation is part of Turkey’s foreign policy recalibration under the Justice and Development Party’s (AdaletveKalkınmaPartisi – AKP) new Prime Minister BinaliYıldırım.



Israeli green Tech and agricultural advancements: Opportunities for Cooperation

As the aims of China’s 13th 5-year plan have indicated, environmentally conscious solutions which promote green development, increasing agricultural yield and efficiency are a significant priority. The shifts towards ‘green tech’ developments correspond with China’s desire to improve environmental standards while effectively developing its vast agricultural sector at a critical juncture in its trajectory into a ‘moderately prosperous society’. In this SIGNAL note we will address some of the most significant, cutting edge green and agricultural advancements developed in Israel which could provide new and innovative solutions to China’s food security.

To express how these important advancements could shape the future of Chinese agricultural production, this note will detail how Israeli breakthroughs in grain storage and biological pest control have led to increased yields, while decreasing reliance on dangerous chemicals. In short, we intend to illustrate how critical developments by Israeli innovators could promote increased food security while forming essential peer-to-peer bonds between Israeli and Chinese policy makers, an essential element of the Belt & Road initiative.



The Situation in the Middle East and the Build-up of Belt and Road Initiative Conference hosted by Northwest University

As China’s Belt & Road initiative evolves, it is understood that regional stability in the Middle East can enhance its geo-economic success. As part of the joint efforts of SIGNAL and Northwest University (NWU) in Xi’an to examine and research the Belt & Road, a conference was hosted by NWU from May 8th-9th. The topic , “The Situation in the Middle East and the Build-up of Belt and Road Initiative” sought to gain a better understanding of hoe developments in Syria may impact the Belt & Road, China and Israel. SIGNAL was honoured to bring a delegation of experts to deliver presentations at the conference. This was preceded by meetings in Beijing between the SIGNAL scholars and senior researchers in the field. Presenting on behalf of SIGNAL and Israel were Jonathan Spyer, Director of Rubin Center at IDC Herzliya and Fellow at Middle East Forum, Prof. Eyal Zisser, Vice Rector of Tel Aviv University and the holder of The Yona and Dina Ettinger Chair in Contemporary History of the Middle East and Prof. Meir Litvak Associate Professor at Department for Middle Eastern History, Tel Aviv University and Director of Alliance Center for Modern Iranian Studies.



Israel’s cutting edge technological and Security resources & the BRI

The scale and geographic range of the Belt & Road initiative clearly means that numerous factors will affect its intended aims of cross border trade and economic growth for the many countries along its path. Chief among these factors is the complex security reality which will influence investment and risk assessment related to the Belt & Road. Israel’s knowledge of global risk factors and diverse security experience seem to align well with the immense challenges in managing complex security situations involved in a diverse multinational, economic policy on the scale and scope of the Belt & Road.

In this SIGNAL Note we will evaluate how Israel’s cutting edge technological and human resources can be utilized in building a more economically viable implementation of the core goals of the Belt & Road. We will specifically address how Israel’s expertise can produce a less risky investment environment while laying the foundation for strong long term ties between the Chinese and Israeli security establishments.



Sino-Israeli Three-Year Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2015-2017)

Within China-Israel relations, a particularly important area of collaboration has been the application of scientific research to industrial development. The technology-sharing among the nations in a range of fields promises to make great advances both in terms of economic impact and promoting further innovation. We will examine here how the cooperation among Chinese and Israeli businesses is initiated in practice. In particular, we will discuss the two institutions which are the main drivers behind the promotion of cooperation the National Industry Agency for R&D Cooperation in Israel otherwise known as MATIMOP and the China Science Technology and Exchange Center (CSTEC), as well as the roadshows and exhibitions which are the main avenue by which such partnerships are initiated.

In January 2015, China and Israel signed a “Three-Year Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2015-2017)”. To realize the Action Plan, a committee was established, co-chaired by Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman. One of the provisions in the action plan was the promotion of technological exchange through matchmaking events, such as roadshows, which can provide a channel for businesses to find collaboration partners.

The purpose of MATIMOP is to advance cooperation on industrial projects between Israel and international partners. The institution is effectively the executive agency of the Office of the Chief Scientist, ensuring that the latest and most cutting-edge scientific is channeled towards significant industrial developments. Through engaging with international partners, Israel seeks to mutually beneficial collaboration entailing joint investment and technology-sharing to maximize the potential of such projects.



Increased Academic and Political Cooperation Between Israel & China

As we saw from the prior SIGNAL Note, it is well known that Israel’s water expertise can be of significant value to China and it is becoming understood that this water expertise can also contribute to bilateral and multilateral cooperation under the auspices of the Belt & Road initiative. It is also a known fact that China’s business ties with Israel grew significantly in 2015 and are continuing to strengthen. What may be less commonly known is the other, many areas where Israel and China have begun cooperating that can be of medium to long term value to the Belt & Road projects and programs.

Events in Israel that began in Jerusalem on March 29, 2016 give some insight into the breadth of cooperation opportunities now being pursued by the two countries. One main event was of academic orientation. SIGNAL was privileged to attend the signing celebration hosted by Israel’s Council on Higher Education and witness the slew of signing ceremonies. These agreements, signed between Israeli and Chinese academic institutions provide some insight into the fields of cooperation that are forming between the Middle Kingdom and the Jewish State. And many of them will serve as a valuable contribution to the success of the Belt & Road initiative.



Introduction to Israeli Water management

The modern states of the People’s Republic of China and Israel both started as poor desert nations. Both began as agrarian societies and both lacked sufficient water resources. Over the years they developed to become among the world’s leading industrial-technological societies with china harnessing its massive human resources and Israel tapping into the out-of-the-box innovative thinking of the Jewish people. China became a manufacturing powerhouse. Israel came to be a leader in high tech in a wide range of fields, most especially in the area of water.

Worldwide, some 700 million people don’t have access to enough clean water. In 10 years the number is expected to explode to 1.8 billion. In 2011 an American serial entrepreneur, Seth Siegel, who founded and sold a number of companies began studying the growing global water problem. He set out to look for the answers that are now explained in his new book, Let There Be Water. Mr. Siegel sought models that might solve the world’s water issues.

In case after case, he found Israel to offer the most comprehensive example for efficient and effective conservation, recycling, production and use of water. He looked at water in a holistic fashion and saw that Israel offered a mode for all countries, rich or poor, large or small, meaning the breadth of water solutions include ways to provide fresh clean drinking water and water for irrigation with low cost methods as well as with cutting edge industrial technology. The solutions scale cost effectively making them valuable for populations of all sizes.



Comentary on Mr. Ou Xiaoli’s remarks at the plenary session of the SRTA conference regarding the Belt & Road

In the second edition of the SIGNAL Note, I would like to follow up on the interesting and important point raised by Mr. Ou Xiaoli in the plenary session of the SRTA conference regarding the Belt & Road. Mr. Ou, one of the people responsible for executing the Belt & Road initiative, noted that the planning group has completed the high level, overarching principles and framework and it is now up to the provinces of China and the nations along the belt & road to identify projects to serve as symbols of the ideals of the initiative.

Vice Chairman Wei Jianguo, of China’s CCIEE (China Center for International economic exchanges), the body in charge of implementing aspects of the Belt & Road, reiterated that the initiative is not limited to only some provinces but will impact all of China. To date, 65 countries with 95 ports are signed on to participate in the Belt & Road. Wei stressed that this is just the beginning and all countries are welcome to join. He made a point of noting that while the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank) and the Silk Road Foundation are now the main funding sources for the initiative, investment is open to all, on a national and private or enterprise basis. And finally, the Belt & Road was not created to countermand or target the TPP, but instead aims to create a shared community with benefits for all.

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