The peoples of Israel and China stem from two ancient civilizations and both are founded on common values dating far back in history. China is not only a great land but a great civilization which shaped human culture. The people of China and the people of Israel carry with them the ancient heritage of our peoples with pride. Both of us are defined by the way in which we bridge between our past and a new vision for the future.

Relations between the Israeli people and China go back to when a Jewish community was first established in Kaifeng more than a millennium ago and were reaffirmed again when the Jews found a safe haven in China during the times they were threatened by discrimination and persecution. The bonds forged during this long journey together culminated in formal diplomatic ties between the People’s Republic of China and the State of Israel over twenty years ago. These ties, founded on a shared history, common values and ancient traditions and cultures will, I believe, continue to grow and flourish.

Today, Israel and China cooperate for the benefit of both our nations in the key domains of our time: science and technology. We may differ in size but our values matter more than numbers. Like China, Israel and the Jewish people have always fostered a profound reverence for the value of knowledge and learning. We are commanded by our heritage to never cease our search for a better understanding of our world and to persevere in our struggle to make it more just and more promising.

‘We may differ in size but our values matter more than numbers. Like China, Israel and the Jewish people have always fostered a profound reverence to the value of knowledge and learning’

China is the greatest model in modern history for how millions of people escaped poverty owing to their own toil and determination. The Middle East can learn a great deal from China’s accomplishments. You have shown the world how a people can climb to higher levels of economic and social development with wisdom and dedication.

On my recent state visit to China, I encountered this spirit of progress and innovation in a wide range of fields. I was proud to launch my Sina-Weibo page and was pleased to make so many new friends in such a short span of time. For me it presents yet another avenue through which to enhance the ever-increasing dialogue between the peoples of our two countries.

The launch of The Times of Israel Chinese news website is a fitting continuation of the journey between our peoples, taking the relations between our two civilizations into the digital age. To the readers in China I say, we await you here in Israel with open arms and our home is open to you.