Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visit at the Great Wall of China, March 22, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer waiting for an invitation to the White House and plans instead to visit China next month, according to journalist Shalom Yerushalmi, reporting in Zman Israel. Advanced contacts are currently taking place between the office of the Prime Minister and the office of President Xi Jinping.

Yerushalmi cites senior Israeli political officials who told him that the extraordinary visit is intended to signal to Washington that Netanyahu has additional policy options, following President Joe Biden’s declaring him persona non grata in the White House.


“Netanyahu will not stand and wait for an invitation to visit the White House that never comes,” the source said, adding, “He works through parallel channels. China has been very involved in what’s happening in the Middle East lately, and the prime minister should be there and represent the Israeli interest.”

China has enormous economic investments in Israel. According to a December 2022 report on foreign investments issued by the Chief Economist at Israel’s Finance Ministry, China and Hong Kong are in third place in terms of the volume of incoming investments into Israel. In 2020, the total value of those transactions reached an estimated $26.5 billion. Among other prominent Chinese holdings in Israel is the Tnuva food production and marketing corporation which is among the top three or four vendors in the market, and the Haifa harbor, the largest free port in the Mediterranean basin, which is frequented by the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.

China’s involvement in Israel has become so vast that the Biden administration is worried about protecting critical technology being developed by Israel and the US from the Chinese. The US sees China as the biggest geostrategic challenge it faces and wishes to restrict just how far Jerusalem can go in collaborating with Beijing.

Yerushalmi speculates that since last March, China mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia to renew their diplomatic after a decade of hostilities between them, Netanyahu will try to promote Israel’s relations with Saudi Arabia through China’s influence, which would make Washington very unhappy.

Last week, Xi Jinping hosted PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing and presented a new Chinese plan for settling the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Officially, the Prime Minister’s office released the following statement:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 27 June 2023), at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, met with members of the US House of Representatives and informed them that he has been invited to visit China.

The projected visit will be Prime Minister Netanyahu’s fourth visit to China; the American administration was updated one month ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed to the members of Congress that the security and intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel is at an all-time peak, and emphasized that the US will always be Israel’s most vital ally and irreplaceable ally.”

Netanyahu last visited Beijing in 2017, to mark the 25th anniversary of Israeli-Chinese diplomatic relations. He brought with him a large delegation of Israeli business people eager to do business with China. There’s no reason to think Israel’s hurting hi-tech executives won’t see the visit as an opportunity to infuse their industry with some yuans.

On Tuesday, the value of 1 yuan is half a shekel (exactly the amount every Jew must pay for the upkeep of the holy Temple).


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