CIA chief told Bennett of US worries over Chinese influence in Israel — report


Staff member
CIA chief told Bennett of US worries over Chinese influence in Israel — report
William Burns is reportedly the most senior Biden administration official to express concern about Jerusalem’s ties with Beijing
By TOI staff
19 August 2021

CIA director Willian Burns reportedly raised US concerns over increasing Chinese investment and involvement in Israel — particularly its tech sector — during his meeting last week with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem. According to an Axios report Wednesday, Burns was the most senior American official to issue such a warning since US President Joe Biden took office in January, after Israel’s ties with China emerged as a rare source of friction with Washington during the Trump administration.

The report said Bennett, who replaced longtime premier Benjamin Netanyahu in June, responded that Israel not only understands the US concerns but shares some of them. As an example, he mentioned recent press reports about a wide-ranging Chinese cyberattack against Israeli tech companies two years ago. “In recent months, we started a dialogue with the Biden administration on China. The US asked about specific projects like the Chinese involvement in the Tel Aviv metro,” a senior Israeli official told the website. The official added: “We told the Americans we welcome US infrastructure companies to work on big projects in Israel, but they haven’t been applying for the tenders.”