Hong Kong’s links to Israel hailed as ‘winning combination’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 April, 2016, 2:27am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 April, 2016, 2:27am

A top Israeli parliamentarian has endorsed his country’s “winning combination” with Hong Kong as the pair forge a closer relationship.

Yuli Edelstein, 57, the speaker of Israel’s parliament the Knesset, said he was proud to back his country’s ties with the city.

He arrived in Hong Kong on Friday after five days of diplomatic engagements with state leaders in Beijing including Premier Li Keqiang and the head of China’s parliament, Zhang Dejiang.

High on the agenda for Israel included its desire to strengthen an economic partnership with China and to ensure peace and stability in both regions.

Edelstein, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, told the Sunday Morning Post: “The cooperation, the economic partnership we are very proud of. And I think this combination of prominent business investment coming from Hong Kong and the Israeli spirit of innovation, breakthrough and ‘don't take no for an answer’, is a winning combination.”

The visit of one of Israel’s most senior politicians came off the back of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s visit to the country last year – the first leader of Hong Kong to visit in 16 years. Leung, who said the country shared common ground with the city, said Hong Kong could take cues from Israel.

At an Israeli consulate function on Friday to honour prominent Hong Kong who had promoted ties with Israel, Edelstein paid tribute to the likes of billionaires Li Ka-shing and Ronnie Chan Chichung.

He said Israel was keen to forge closer economic ties to China and contribute to peace and stability in both regions.

Asked how Israel viewed Hong Kong protests and calls for independence, he said: “I understand how complicated the matters are, and I’m not driving comparisons to our area, but I wish never to hear about any violence, uprising. I hope everything will be resolved peacefully and Hong Kong will stay a wonderful place the way we know it.”