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Israel Hayom Publishes Ambassador Zhan Yongxin's Op-ed On the Friendship Between the Chinese and Jewish People
2019/05/03

On May 2, Israel Hayom, the largest circulating daily newspaper in Israel, published an Op-ed by Ambassador Zhan Yongxin entitled "The Unbreakable Foundation of China-Israel Friendship". The full text is as follows:

In April, the China Cultural Center in Tel Aviv and the Brooklyn Public Library in New York both staged exhibitions on Jewish people in China during the Second World War. The recounts of Holocaust survivors and historic pictures refreshed the memory we hold dear to our hearts and brought to life an extraordinary history when Chinese and Jewish people helped each other in the darkest time of Mankind.

On this special day of Yom HaShoah, I am honored and humbled to bring you some of the stories we experienced together.

Starting from the late 1930s, the Nazi's persecution on Jewish people reached its height in Europe, and many countries across the world closed their doors. However, the Chinese people extended a helping hand and received tens of thousands of Jewish people escaping from the Holocaust. Shanghai city alone sheltered at least 25,000, exceeding the total number of those in Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand combined.

At that time, China was also at a national war defending itself against the invasion of fascist Japan, and the life was miserable for ordinary Chinese. But no matter how hard life was, the Chinese and Jewish people lived friendly together in Shanghai. Jerry Moses, a Holocaust survivor fondly recalled, "if we were thirsty, the Chinese gave us water. If we were hungry, they gave us rice cakes. As bad as we had it, they had it worse. And they felt bad for us."

Extraordinary times give birth to extraordinary personages. The Chinese consul general in Vienna, during the early years of the War, issued thousands of "life visas" to Austrian Jews. Mr Jacob Rosenfeld, the Austrian Jewish doctor with the nickname "Buddha Savior", joined the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and saved thousands of lives. Coincidentally, Mr. Jacob Rosenfeld was a "life visa" holder who narrowly escaped from the massacre. The legend is exactly as the Jewish saying goes- "whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."

The history of the past serves as the unbreakable foundation of our friendship. Over the years, China-Israel relations have made great progress from nearly no contact to fruitful cooperation in trade, investment, finance, infrastructure, science&technology and innovation. I sincerely hope this friendship will be long cherished and carried forward by the peoples of China and Israel.

 

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