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.
DR. GABRIEL A. SIVAN