The Chinese threat to Israel - Should Israel join the coalition against China?
07.02.2022 | Yishai Gelb
The United States is gearing up the pressure against China by building coalitions in Asia and other regions in the world. Sooner or later, Israel will have to pick sides, either the Chinese or the West. Israel will side with the United States and the West in any likely scenario. However, the consequences could be heavy on Israel.
This report will cover the consequences of Israel choosing the American side against China.
Like many countries globally, China has become an important trading partner for Israel. Like many. Similar to most countries' situation, Israel imports to China more than its exports, creating a trade deficit. Most of Israel's imports from China are heavy machines, raw materials, and consumer goods. Most Israeli exports to china are chemicals, services, software, and high-tech. Currently, China is Israel's second-biggest trading partner after the US totaling at 11% of Israel's trade.
China invests a lot in Israel, a total of 10 billion dollars since 2010, mainly in infrastructure and high-tech, including IT, cyber, telecommunications, microchips, and more. The US is heavily against any cooperation between Israel and China, especially in telecommunications. In response to US pressure on the Israeli government, in August 2020, it was publicized that Israel would not allow Chinese telecommunication companies to actively participate in any tenders causing much disapproval from China threats from Chinese officials.
One of the biggest threats from China is cyber-attacks. Israel has been attacked numerous times by Chinese hackers who disguised themselves as being Iranian. The attacks were on Governmental facilities, IT infrastructure, hospitals, desalination plants, private companies, and more. The purpose of the attacks is a business and economic strategy to steal information, pressure companies to work with the Chinese market, or face being attacked. The West must eliminate as many Chinese telecommunications infrastructures as possible to defeat China in cyberspace and prevent Chinese cyber-attacks. That’s why it is essential to comply with this strategy in as many countries as possible.
Iran and China are working together on cyber networks and technology. Iran is a growing cyber power and recently publicized building two supercomputers. Iran claims that the supercomputer's purpose is for governmental agencies, weather tracking, and civil purposes; however, these computers will have the capacity to do much more.
The more the US and its allies continue to combat China and build a coalition to isolate China, the more China will use Iran as a proxy to attack western counties, Israel being one of them. China currently has about 180 supercomputers, the most in the world. The USA comes in second with about 120 supercomputers. Japan has 34 supercomputers, Great Britain has 11, and India has 2. Therefore the West must get as many counties as possible to start building supercomputers to balance the Chinese supremacy in computing capabilities. Israel could join the western allies and begin building a supercomputer to join the fight. Israel could help by increasing its arms sales to East Asia and western allies, including Taiwan.
The biggest Chinese threat toward Israel is the large aid packages that China could give to Israel's enemies. China, already heavily investing in Iran, could continue giving more money for Iranian proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah. This could be very dangerous for Israel if Hamas and Hezbollah start receiving large sums of money and military equipment indirectly China and its allies.
When all is said and done, it is essential to see China's grave threat to Israel. Currently, Israel is accepting vast investments from China and open trade. All while the US and its allies are tacking upon themselves to combat China both technologically and militarily actively. Israel is trying to hold the rope at both ends but won't have the privilege to continue doing so for longer. Israel will eventually have to choose, and I don't think we need to guess what Israel's choice will be. We will need to figure out the consequences of actively joining the West to deter China and its allies.