Teaching Israelis about China

On May 31, 2018, the Jerusalem Post published Teaching Israelis about China based on a survey conducted in 2017 investigating The attitudes and perceptions of Israeli’s towards China, its people, and the Belt & Road Initiative. Led by SIGNAL, the project is the first of its kind conducted in Israel. The study was funded by China’s Ministry of Education and was initiated by SIGNAL Fellow, Dr. Li Wei, faculty and Research Fellow at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) at Northwest University in central China where SIGNAL has had an Israel studies Program since 2013.

SIGNAL’s 2nd Annual Conference on Israel’s China Policy

On Dec 26, 2017, SIGNAL, in cooperation with the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya and the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, held its 2nd annual conference on Israel’s China Policy. This year’s conference, “China on the World Stage – Strategic Implications for Israel,” provided a forum for discussing China’s “New Era” and the Middle Kingdom’s engagement in the turbulent Middle East.

The conference was divided into two sections, a closed, morning session that simulated conflict between the US and North Korea, and afternoon round-table styled discussions open to the general public, conducted for an overflow crowd. The 4-hour, morning simulation included over a dozen scholars and experts from Israeli and Chinese think tanks, former diplomats and retired military personnel who represented the USA, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Israel, Japan and South Korea. North Korea’s representation included former Mossad director Efraim Halevy and former Chinese representative to the 6 Party Talks, Mr. Yang Xiyu.

SIGNAL Perspectives 2

This issue of SIGNAL Perspectives, by SIGNAL Executive Director Carice Witte and SIGNAL Academic Advisor Dr. Aryeh Tepper, is entitled ‘Understanding How Culture and History Impact China’s International Relations: The Case of the South China Sea’. The piece highlights the value of cultural sensitivity in dealings with China. It employs the case study of the West’s handling of the South China Sea incident to insightfully highlight the role China’s cultural and historical makeup play in forming its foreign policy. The essay demonstrates how the Israeli leadership can learn from the West’s mistakes when dealing with the Middle Kingdom, and strive to better understand China in order to maximize the potential of the developing relations between the two countries.

SIGNAL Perspectives

In late 2016, SIGNAL Perspectives began to publish research and geopolitical analyses from a Chinese perspective. Whereas most papers published by research centers and institutes in Israel present the issues from an American or European viewpoint, or discuss how current events affect Israel and the EU or USA, SIGNAL Perspectives looks at the same topics from a Chinese vantage point. As China has risen to become a global power, we saw a pressing need to ask how geopolitical developments and events impact China as well as Israel.

SIGNAL Perspectives, published in both English and Chinese, are written by SIGNAL researchers, fellows, and commissioned scholars, focusing on geopolitical issues which are relevant to China or China-Israel relations. The Perspectives series is a crucial new element of SIGNAL’s multidimensional approach to understanding regional and global developments pertaining to China and Israel.

FTP 2016

The 6th annual SIGNAL Faculty Training Program (FTP) saw the arrival of academics from five universities in Yunnan, Henan, Shaanxi, Beijing and Shanghai. The Program offers a Fellowship to faculty from Chinese universities with Israel Studies Programs established in cooperation with SIGNAL. The FTP Fellows spend a full semester studying in Israel. The Program aims to provide the Fellows with a comprehensive understanding of the modern state of Israel and its history.

The 6th cohort participated in a rigorous curriculum, attending lecture series and workshops. The program is headed by Dr Paula Kabalo, a leading world scholar on Israel Studies who heads the Ben Gurion Research Insititute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at the Sde Boker campus. The Fellows take classes directly from Dr. Kabalo and enjoy her academic supervision throughout their studies.

Grand Prize Announcement

SIGNAL is pleased to announce the winners of the Inaugural Grand Prize for the National Level of the Israel Studies Research Paper Competition 2016.

The winners are:

Mr. Yang Yulong, PhD Candidate of Northwest University (NWU) with the paper on “Analysing The Al-Farhud Event and the Extremization of Inter-Ethnic Relations between Arabs and Jews in Iraq” and

Ms. Fan Xinzhu, MA Candidate of Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) with the paper on “Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Mechanism.”

SIGNAL launches its China-Israel Belt & Road Delegation series

The first in SIGNAL’s China-Israel Belt-& Road Delegation series was launched with the China-Israel Belt & Road Seminar Week held from October 30th to November 3rd in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.The purpose of the series is to provide a forum where Israeli expertise could be offered to advance the success of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). By bringing Chinese BRI scholars, experts and practitioners to Israel to witness Israeli innovation first hand and experience the Start-Up-Nation up close and personal, SIGNAL aims to increase opportunities for cooperation on BRI projects. As a mega-investment program, BRI involves undertaking massive infrastructure investment along the route of the old Silk Road. Due to the complex nature of the program, there are many areas in which Israeli expertise could make a useful contribution towards the successful implementation of the initiative.

Since its founding six years ago, SIGNAL has tirelessly engaged with the upper echelon of research institutions in China to advance policy development that is reciprocally beneficial and sensitive to the context of both countries. In recognition of the centrality and success of its efforts in bolstering ties between China and Israel, the Silk Road Think Tank Association selected SIGNAL as its sole representative in Israel. With the China-Israel Belt & Road Delegation series SIGNAL is acting in this capacity to promote cooperation between China and Israel in the development of the Silk Road trade routes.

The leaders from key Party institutions participating in the delegation were Deputy Director General of the China Center for Contemporary World Studies (CCCWS), Section Chief of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Deputy Publisher and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of China Investment Magazine, NDRC, Director of Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Liaison Discipline Inspector of the International Department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and a senior representative of the International Department at CCDI.

Senior SIGNAL Fellow Prof. Meron Medzini Receives Japanese Decorations in Recognition of Research Contributions

On November 3, 2016, senior SIGNAL fellow, Professor Meron Medzini of Hebrew University was honored to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays and Neck ribbon decorations from the Japanese government. The decoration was awarded in recognition of his contribution to the development of Japanese studies and the promotion of the understanding of Japan in Israel.

Upon receiving the award, the eminent academic expressed his honor and stated that he sees this as “a recognition by the government and people of Japan of the work those of us involved in teaching and researching about Japan have carried out over the years.” Professor Medzini also added, “I am very pleased that our modest contribution is being recognized in this manner.”

Renmin University’s CMEAS hosts SIGNAL Delegate, former Deputy National Security Advisor, Eran Etzion to deliver lecture

The Center for Middle East and African Studies hosted Israel’s former Deputy National Security Advisor and former head of the Policy Planning Division of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give a talk on “The Potential Impact of the US Election Results on Middle East-China-Israel Relations” at Renmin University on 17th November, 2016.

A diplomat and strategist, Etzion was visiting China as a participant in SIGNAL’s expert delegation, conducting briefings and dialogues with the country think tanks and research institutes. The discussions focused on reflections regarding the recent political developments in the United States and their potential international implications. Formerly serving as the Head of Policy Planning at the Minister of Foreign Affair, Mr. Eran Etzion is director of the Forum for Strategic Dialogue and founder of the Israel Center for Strategic Futures (ICSF).

SIGNAL-CMEAS Researchers publish on Cross-Straits relations as Model for Israel-Palestinian Cooperation in Israel Affairs Journal

An international team of researchers at SIGNAL’s Center for Middle East and African Studies (CMEAS) at the School of International Studies, Renmin University, have just published an article titled, “Can China–Taiwan ‘Cross-Straits’ relations serve as a model for Israeli–Palestinian cooperation? A Proposal”. The article appears in the 2016 issue of the Israel Affairs journal. The authors of the article are Cui Shoujun, associate professor of international relations at Renmin University and Director of the Center for Middle East and African Studies, Meron Medzini, SIGNAL senior fellow and professor of political science at Hebrew university and Joshua Teitelbaum, Associate Professor at Bar Ilan University (BIU) and senior research associate at Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs at BIU.

The article examines the cooperation that has emerged in relations between China and Taiwan, despite the ongoing intractable conflict between the territories. Such reciprocal ties have been strengthened through a series of agreements on areas such as economic ties, tourism, trade and finance. While recognizing significant differences between the respective conflicts in the East Asia and the Middle East, the paper urges that similar heightened efforts to promote cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians could serve to arrive at a tolerable level of joint conflict management. Drawing on its conflict management experience, an active role for China in such an effort is also recommended, corresponding to the increasing presence of the rising global power in the Middle East.

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