World Jewish News
Visit of Israel's Prime Minister in China highlights growing economic relations
20.03.2017, Israel and the World
Amid growing economic relations between Israel and China, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on a visit to Beijing, his second visit there during Xi Jinping’s presidency.
The visit marks 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks today (Monday, 20 March 2017) to a meeting of Israeli and Chinese businesspeople:
"This is a stark change from the first visit I had in China over 20 years ago, when I came during my first visit as Prime Minister. The streets were lined with bicycles, a lot of bicycles, few cars, some new buildings, but mostly old buildings. And I have to say less smog. And you see the force, the great, enormous swirl of Chinese progress and Chinese ascendency, with all its challenges and all its problems, assume its place on the world stage in a very exciting development in human affairs and something that all nations – all nations – seek to take part of, to be partners with China, to be of assistance to China and thereby also assist themselves,’’ Netanyahu said at a meeting of Israeli and Chinese businesspeople.
He noted that in this period, ‘’Israel too has not stood still.’’ ‘’Israel has moved and become one of the foremost centers of global innovation, a technological global power.’’
‘’The combination of the innate technology that we had and the market economy that we built created a very powerful explosion of startup companies in various fields, drawing on military capabilities, especially in the field of IT, but rapidly expanding into other areas,’’ he added.
Netanyahu added that there are 500 startups in cyber security and 500 startups in automotive technology in Israel. ‘’In 2016 in Israel, we received 20% of the global private investment in cyber security. That’s 200 times our relative weight in the world population,’’ he said.
He mentioned in particular the fact that last week Intel, the US chip international company, bought Mobileye an automotive technology company in Israel for 15 billion dollars. ‘’ Israel is now, at once, in one fell swoop, become the center of an enormous global industry – automotive technology, autonomous vehicles. It’s a huge industry.’’
Netanyahu is accompanied in China by a group of 90 perivate Israeli businessmen.
According to Israeli Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen Israel aspires to become the world’s 15th largest economy by 2025, arguing that Israel’s power depends on its economic growth.
“A country’s strength depends on the strength of its economy,” Cohen said.
“Why is the US the world’s biggest superpower? Because they have the largest economy. China is getting increasingly strong and is projected in nine or 10 years to become number one, also in terms of defense, and this is happening against the background of economic strength,” said the politician, a member of the center-right Kulanu party, which focuses on socioeconomic issues.
“The State of Israel, with only 8.5 million citizens, also stands in a very respectable place,” Cohen added, “especially when you take into account Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox (sectors that are relatively under-represented in the workforce). We want to include them even more into the workforce. Our goal is to become the 15th largest economy in the world in eight years. And therefore we focus on the economy. We understand that Israel’s strength is an economic strength.”