India’s Israel relations, the Middle East and China
By: Dr. Shalom Salomon Wald

International politics are in flux. Power relations between the main actors on the international scene are changing. Grasping and exploiting these changes in a timely fashion is an essential prerequisite of successful statesmanship. This paper addresses India’s movement into the Middle East, as seen in the broader framework of India’s changing position among the world’s great powers. The most salient international changes include the new tensions between the United States and both Russia and China, the growing assertiveness of China, the relative decline of Europe and the turmoil in the Middle East and wider Muslim world. Less noticed but perhaps no less important is a perceptible change in India’s view of its own future since Prime Minister Modi, the head of the center-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. His was called a “landmark victory”.

A Striking Resemblance: Deep Parallels in Israeli and Chinese History
By: Aryeh Tepper

In recent years, Israel has invested heavily in developing the economic, diplomatic and academic dimensions of its relationship with China. The investment has paid off, as Israel-China relations are strengthening while China rises on the world stage.

Moving forward, it is in Jerusalem’s interest to deepen the connection with Beijing. However, it’s legitimate to wonder if the cultural gaps and different histories render such an interest impractical. At first glance, the cultural and historical barriers present serious obstacles to establishing a more profound connection between Israel and China.

This initial view is, however, incorrect. There are profound cultural and historical parallels between the Chinese and Israeli experiences that, if thoughtfully cultivated over time, can be used to deepen the connection between the Israeli and Chinese peoples and to buttress the Israel-China relationship.

Consider the following: only the Chinese and Israelis can claim to be inheritors of traditions that date back to the ancient world but have endured through the present. There are other ancient peoples in the world, for instance, the Persians. But in the case of Persia, the introduction of Islam caused a fundamental disruption within Persian history. Persian culture before Islam, and Persian culture after Islam, are different in kind.

The Rising Strategic Value Of Global Technology Assets And Its Impact On Sino-Israel Relations
By: Ariella Berger

Chinese investment in Israeli technology in 2016 increased ten-fold over the previous year. With ten bilateral agreements recently signed between the two nations valued at $25 billion, China – Israel relations appear to be moving along a steady economic trajectory. This growth, however, is based primarily on China’s need for Israel’s innovative technology. This begs the question, are Sino-Israel relations vulnerable to a fall in the value of global technology asset? In this SIGNAL Perspective, Ariella Berger, draws on the metaphor of the perfect storm to contend that four converging factors: the rising relevance of Artificial Intelligence as a critical asset that accelerates technology convergence; the high demand for technology assets in America being spurred by Trump’s plan to resuscitate US manufacturing; The relevance of technology for China’s Belt and Road Initiative; and the consequences of the closing technological gap between advanced economies suggest that Sino-Israel relations are likely to remain prosperous as the strategic value of technology, in the mid-term, appears set to increase.

The Impact of Culture and History on China’s International Relations
By: Carice Witte and Aryeh Tepper

Is China an up-and-coming aggressor determined to govern the global order? That seems to be the conventional view among some Western pundits and politicians. From snubbing former U.S. President Obama upon his arrival at last year’s G20 summit, to not participating in the arbitration of the South China Sea territorial dispute, China appears intent on throwing its weight around as it rises to prominence on the international stage.

While it’s true that the People’s Republic of China jealously protects its national interests, the conventional view is problematic because it lacks the broad historical-cultural perspective that is necessary for evaluating Chinese behavior. As Israel continues to strengthen its connection to the Middle Kingdom, it’s important that Israel’s leaders know how to assess Chinese behavior independently of the Western conventional wisdom. The 2016 South China Sea ruling is helpful for illustrating what the Western perspective misses.

Israel’s relations with the U.S. and China: A zero-sum game?
By: Aryeh Tepper

Are ties between Israel and the two great powers of our time, the United States and China, a zero-sum game? Must Israel’s relations with one power necessarily come at the expense of relations with the other?

The answer should be an easy “no.” On the one hand, Israel enjoys a special relationship with the United States, a relationship that won’t be changing for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, relations with China are rapidly developing on a number of fronts ─ economic, diplomatic and academic ─ and the benefits of the relationship are clear to both sides.

But some Israeli officials and American pundits have been sounding the alarm in recent months, warning that Israel’s relations with China shouldn’t take the place of Israel’s special relationship with the U.S. To cite one example, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently asserted in The Jerusalem Post that, “it’s no secret that Israel is looking for new allies… A growing chorus in Israel believes that China is a good option.” Schanzer’s advice? “China… is not long-term alliance material for Israel… predictions of a new special relationship that supplants that of Israel and the United States are very premature.”

Israel and China’s Silk Road
By: Kevjn Lim

When China’s President Xi Jinping articulated his idea of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) in Astana in September 2013 and again a month later in Jakarta,1 what emerged was a vision to parlay large-scale economic dynamism into a foreign policy projecting Chinese influence overseas in the name of development. Inclusive and expansive at once, this is an ambitious vision and one which could seal ours as the Chinese century if it succeeds in weaving the loose ends of China’s overseas interests into a coherent whole. Three years into SREB, now better known as the “Belt & Road Initiative” (BRI), a part of the vision is slowly taking on flesh. The volume of media reports attests to this. What remains less clear is the strategic implications and opportunities of BRI on China’s partners. Occupying a slight sliver at the intersection of West Asia and the Middle East, Europe and Africa – regions of intimate relevance to BRI – Israel too has joined the new Silk Road caravan. Where does it fit in, and what difference does BRI make?

  1. “Promote friendship between our people and work together to build a bright future” (text of Xi Jinping’s speech at Nazarbayev University, Astana), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, 8 September 2013, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cebel/eng/zxxx/t1078088.htm; “Xi in call for building of new ‘Maritime Silk Road’”, China Daily, 4 October 2013, http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-10/04/content_17008940.htm

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SIGNAL Perspectives are written by experts on a range of issues within the China-Israel-Middle East space