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How do you say in Chinese ‘to dig your own grave’?

CM 25/08/2021 3

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Israel’s construction and infrastructure industry is a glorious one, whose effects can be seen everywhere in the country. It’s an industry that has built over three million apartments, millions of square meters of offices, luxury commercial and public construction in over 200 communities, road infrastructure, interchanges, tunnels, all in just 70 years.
The infrastructure and construction companies in Israel are among the best and leading worldwide in every field. Today, Israeli companies have knowledge and execution capabilities of the best standards in the world, yet its government have repeatedly chosen in recent years to relinquish the services of this winning industry, and dedicate themselves, even becoming addicted, to a Chinese takeover of important and strategic infrastructure projects.
The administration in Beijing decided years ago to unveil its “Belt and Road” program, which is, in simple terms, a decision to take over all major infrastructure projects on the world trade routes from the Far East, passing through the Middle East and Europe. China’s motives were never disclosed, but it can be assumed that the economic side of this decision was not the most important one; this was a strategic, political consideration to control the world’s trade routes on the way to becoming the world’s leading power – overtaking the United States.

With pockets full of cash, the Chinese government is repeatedly sending companies it owns to win construction tenders of all kinds. The method is simple – to offer “Dumping” prices that the private market, lacking government backing, cannot compete with, along with the use of cheap Chinese manpower, which does not have proper social conditions and is not subject to Israeli labor laws, and the bringing in of Chinese experts instead of Israeli engineers and project managers. Thus the Chinese were able to exclude the Western world of carrying out infrastructure projects in Africa, for example. They operate in the same method and with the same purpose in Israel today.
The United States, with the previous administration and with the Biden administration, understood this move and raised a red flag to Israel, demanding that the transfer of projects to the Chinese be stopped. Unfortunately, the previous Israeli government hesitated and in practice did not stop the Chinese takeover.
Vice president at the Israeli Builders Association Zkiva David. (Courtesy)Vice president at the Israeli Builders Association Zkiva David. (Courtesy)
Don’t rely on security
China has made a name for itself in the world as a country that doesn’t abhor using illegal means to achieve what it wants, even in its relations with countries that are its allies. Enable Chinese companies work in sensitive areas in Israel is a gamble that no country should take. In the past, there have been suspicions that Chinese organizations have carried out wiretaps and have intruded into sensitive systems in Israel.
It was recently revealed in the Israeli media that Israel underwent an extensive cyberattack carried out by China. According to reports on Israeli newspapers, Chinese intelligence agencies were able to extract a great deal of information from Israeli government, business and academic systems since 2019. Israeli security officials have warned that the attacks are continuing to happen and that businesses must defend themselves. According to the same sources quoted in the media, the Chinese are interested in autonomous driving technology, faster communication technology and a lot of internal business information about Israel – among other things, the articles hinted that the Chinese government stole documents related to construction and infrastructure tenders.
Having learned of this information, it is not clear how the Israeli government goes about its business when in Israel in 2021 a Chinese company is digging subway tunnels adjacent to military headquarters, Chinese companies are building and expected to operate the country’s major seaports, Chinese companies are expected to build bridges and interchanges that are meant to manage traffic in the most densely populated areas in the country, a Chinese company is building a water treatment system in the South, a Chinese company controls the largest food producer in the country, and this is only a partial list.
The Israeli government must wake up and understand that the accelerated process it’s leading is making Israel a satellite state of a superpower, of which it’s not certain at all that it’s maintaining our security. The opposite is probably true. 
The field currently at the highest threat level, in light of Chinese activity in Israel, is the field of construction and infrastructure. This exemplary industry, which has stood and should continue to stand by the Israeli government even in times of war and must be the operational arm of the government’s decisions, must not be given up. 
The construction and infrastructure industry in Israel constitutes over 10% of the state’s GDP, and employs over 250,000 Israeli workers. To this figure, one must add all those belonging to the huge ancillary industries of construction products, building materials and service providers of a wide range. Surrendering to the Chinese takeover will lead to the collapse of a major growth engine of the Israeli economy and will cost a huge economic and public price.
On Thursday, when Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden, it is likely that the issue of the Chinese takeover of Israel’s infrastructure projects will be on the agenda. Bennett should tell Biden: “Mr. President, my government is a government of change and it will also change policy in this area, and will no longer allow Chinese companies to continue to take over infrastructure projects in Israel”.
The Israeli government must establish a set of laws and regulations that will protect the Israeli construction and infrastructure industry from a Chinese takeover and this should happen immediately. What is important for Israel needs to be built by Israelis.
The writer is vice president at the Israeli Builders Association.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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