World's Oldest Nations Share Historic Friendship

Published: May 12th 2010
in News » World

Chinese Jews
Pic: wikimedia commons

There has recently been growing interest in the tie between the world’s oldest civilizations: the Jewish and the Chinese. A series of events, political commentary, and media coverage within the past couple months have demonstrated the forgotten and obscure history between the Jewish people and the Chinese people as well as the longstanding diplomatic ties between Israel and China. The two oldest nations have been expressing their interests in each other on a political, economical, and cultural level.


Most recently, The Global Times reported on a press conference held Tuesday in Beijing with Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz attending. Steinitz told the conference that Israel is looking to invest in China’s foreign exchange market and encouraged Chinese investment in Israel’s famous hi-tech industry. The Israeli Finance Minister met with senior managers from major Chinese financial institutions as well as the Finance Minister of China, Xie Xuren. Previously Steinitz spoke in Shanghai last Wednesday at a joint business seminar – the first visit to China from an Israeli Finance Minister in 15 years.


He told Israel Business, “The world's two most ancient nations have a lot of values and wisdom in common, and that it was time to strengthen the financial bond between them.”


Chinese interest in transforming their economy into being more hi-tech-based as a precursor to its development, and Israel’s global standing as a leader of technological innovation demonstrates the economic compatibility between the two nations. After the milestone visit to China, Steinitz took the stand at the Israeli Pavilion World Expo in Shanghai on May 6.


The Israeli Pavilion World Expo in Shanghai gave the opportunity for Israeli artists to join with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and perform together to perform “The Spirit of Israel” on Israel Day. As well, the Israeli flag was raised and Hatikva was sung with an audience that was 92 per cent Chinese. A tour guide by the name of Mengyao Wang, a Chinese Jew born in China but raised in Israel, helped led viewers of the Israeli pavilion who were surrounded by paintings of Israeli scenes along with videos showing Israel’s diversity. Later, a parade was held showcasing Israeli inventions and innovations appropriate to the Einstein theme of the Expo.


Wang told Ha’aretz of the way in which the people of Shanghai view the Jewish people: “They think Jews are smart, good at inventing things, good at business. They think Israel is a good place with a good economy.”




Wang is a Chinese Jew and though many are unaware, there are many Jews of the Diaspora who originate from China. This is due to China being a historically safe home to many Jews of the Diaspora. Jewish people have resided in China for over a thousand years, since the Eighth to Ninth Century.


Related articles: (China, Chinese Jews, Einstein, expo, technology, refugees, K)

Share with friends Print this page Read later Recommend 3 times