(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
Israel and China are commemorating today (24 January) twenty years of diplomatic relations. Israel assigns great importance to the promotion of its ties with China, the number two economic power in the world, a member of the UN Security Council and a major player in Asia and in the international arena. Israel greatly admires the economic, scientific and technological development that characterizes the growth of China in the last few decades.
The connection between China and the Jewish people goes back a thousand years, to the time when Jewish merchants from Central Asia arrived via the Silk Road to the city of Kaifeng and found a home there.
The Jewish people appreciates that China provided a safe haven for thousands of Jews during two dark and difficult periods in its history: during the persecutions and pogroms in Russia at the end of the 19th century and throughout the Russian revolution, and during World War II, when 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe found sanctuary in the city of Shanghai.
Despite the differences in size of population and geographical area, the Chinese people and the Jewish people share many similarities. Both are from the most ancient, continuous civilizations in the world; both place a high value on family and tradition, education and scholarship, persistence and hard work. Each is very aware of its rich historical heritage and both strive to contribute to the development of humankind.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs views China as a state of high priority and in recent years has allocated many resources - human and monetary - for the promotion of ties between the two countries. As an example, two years ago Israel opened a consulate in southern China in the city of Guangzhou
, in addition to the existing consulates in Shanghai
and Hong Kong
, and the embassy in Beijing
The twentieth anniversary of diplomatic ties is an important milestone and many events - cultural, economic and scientific - are scheduled to take place in both countries with the aim of strengthening and expanding the relations between Israel and China.
As the twentieth anniversary approaches, there has been an exchange of Notes between the leaders of Israel and China, including the prime ministers, the presidents and the foreign ministers, which express their commitment to enhancing the relations between them.