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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
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Chinese-Israeli Cultural Relations Blossoming

Increased economic ties between Israel and China usher in cultural exchange.
China’s Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping with a friend.

China’s Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping with a friend.

According to China’s Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, “Culture goes beyond borders. Cultural exchanges constitute an important and dynamic part of China-Israel relations. Now the momentum is set. I am convinced that with our joint efforts the China-Israel cultural cooperation is bound to blossom.” To this end, the efforts of Israeli Barry Swersky are helping Chinese-Israeli cultural ties bud into fruition. In partnership with the Chinese Embassy and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China, Swersky is arranging an exhibition in Israel exploring the future of Chinese art through the eyes of young artists. Swersky is also fostering a collaborative relationship between CAFA and Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Swersky explains, “I have felt that Israeli cultural organizations, whether artists or orchestras, are seeking more ways to go to China. They went to China and started to look for contacts. They have been successful.” He added, “As the cultural organizations become more interested in China, they have found their way into China. People are discovering each other, so there is a greater flow. There are museums in China presenting Israeli artists.”

Since 2008 Swersky has been promoting Chinese-Israeli cultural exchange. Among Swersky’s many projects is a TAO Beijing Dance Company performance with noted Israeli oud player Yair Dalal, joint master classes for gifted young Chinese and Israeli pianists, and construction of sculptures in Haifa and Haifa’s twin city, Shanghai, in a project proposed by Israeli artist Peter Jacob Maltz.

Swersky is not the only Israeli to be active in Israeli-Chinese cultural relations, as Israeli singer David D’Or has developed a solid audience in China and Israel Sinfonietta Be’ersheva has performed there twice. According to Swersky, “Already in May 1993, Israel and China signed a cultural agreement. In 2011, the governments agreed on a program for the years 2011 to 2015, a program which in general terms covers subjects such as culture and art, cultural events, museums and exhibitions, cinema and television, publication and literature.”

“Governments place great emphasis on ‘soft power,’” Swersky explained. “The identification with some elements of culture always helps Israel have a strong image in dance and music. It’s part of a country’s image.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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6 Responses to “Chinese-Israeli Cultural Relations Blossoming”

  1. Arthur B. Levy says:

    What I grew up knowing and being taught in school was Communist China was a feared evil empire. I never thought 50yrs later they would be the #1 lender to the USA and progressive throughout 1st world countries.

  2. Shemayah Shiloh Phillips says:

    I grew up during the Cold War and Viet Nam but reading communist theory and also Mao so I’m not adverse but the reality doesn’t allow me to fully trust China. However, if China can surpass the US role to Israel’s true benefit, I’m for it. I like the Canadian role growing also. Always the US includes the support for a Christian missionary role and influence which should be rejected by Israel. I would love to see that influence completely eliminated.

  3. Jean Perles says:

    מר מזכירת המדינה – על ידי לאלץ את ישראל להיכנע לטרור על ידי שחרור מחבלי רוצחים עם כל כך הרבה דם על הידיים, כי ארצות הברית מעולם לא הייתי חולמת משחרר אותם אם זה היה האזרחים שלהם שהם רצחו – אתה להיות לא רק מאוד צביעות, אבל בעצם מתעסק בניסויים והימורים, על ידי הצבת אותי ואת הילדים שלי בסיכון

  4. Cody Flecker says:

    Jewish People have always loved Chinese food. That's a good start.

  5. Rina Gray says:

    China is progressive big country. So why don’t work with them? Their cliental ravenues is much bigger, than USA. I am all for Israle China, India relationships.

  6. Yechiel Baum says:

    China allowed in the Jews from Mir during WWII.
    China also respected Chinesse Jews.
    China loves the Jewish importers globally that facilitates their economy.
    why not!
    Politically, in the past, is another story.

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