China syn­drome

The Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES -

As Is­rael’s for­mer am­bas­sador to China and one­time deputy de­fense min­is­ter quite rightly ad­mon­ishes us (“Vilna’i to ‘Post:’ Haifa Port deal with China ‘crazy,’ must be re­versed,” Jan­uary 9), “A na­tional se­cu­rity as­set should never be in the hands of a for­eign coun­try.”

Al­low­ing a Chi­nese firm to man­age the port of Haifa for 25 years is sheer mad­ness. We, no less than the United States, should be aware of the dan­gers in­volved in such an agree­ment, de­spite any ap­par­ent ben­e­fits or need to fos­ter ties with China.

The rapid growth of Chi­nese in­volve­ment in Is­rael’s com­merce and econ­omy has been ob­vi­ous, but ig­nored, for some time past. In a let­ter to the ed­i­tor pub­lished over 13 years ago (“Chi­nese syn­drome,” Novem­ber 4, 2005), I drew at­ten­tion to the vast range of goods that Is­rael was im­port­ing from just one coun­try (China) in­stead of di­ver­si­fy­ing our sources of sup­ply. En­ter any depart­ment store or mar­ket these days and you will find ev­ery­thing from footwear to food­stuffs, from cloth­ing to cam­eras, re­joic­ing in fa­mous brand names but man­u­fac­tured in some Chi­nese fac­tory. One re­sult has been the near-demise of Is­rael’s own tex­tile in­dus­try.

There’s an old say­ing, “Don’t put all your eggs in one bas­ket.” If Matan Vilna’i has cor­rectly blamed a score of “lower-level of­fi­cials” for these dis­as­trous poli­cies, then it’s surely time to re­move the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process from their hands. Oth­er­wise, there may be worse to come.



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