Photo Credit: Matty Stern, U.S. Embassy in Israel.
Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (center), Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Zvi Hauser (right) and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman meet in Jerusalem, May 26, 2020.

Israel is likely to reject Chinese bids for the building of 5G networks in the country, due to U.S. pressure and because of security concerns, Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

This comes as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman pressured Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, and chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Zvi Hauser, in a meeting on Tuesday to block Chinese efforts to gain a foothold in Israel’s 5G cellular network.

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The government has to decide whether to allow the Chinese to construct Israel’s 5G network, and in another deal, whether or not to allow China’s CK Hutchison to take over Israel’s Partner Communications Company, according to a report by Haaretz. Hutchison is waiting for the decision by Israel’s regulator.

Friedman’s message to the Israelis came on the same day that the government announced that Israeli company IDE Technologies beat the Chinese firm for the tender to build what is expected to be the world’s largest seawater desalinization plant—worth $1.5 billion—at Nahal Sorek, near the Palmachim air base, south of Tel Aviv.

The United States has been pressuring Israel to decrease Chinese investment in the country.

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