As China-Israel business and cultural cooperation continues to increase, Chinese people are finding they have more knowledge of, and interest in, Israel, and most Chinese people think positively about Israel and Jewish people. Recently, the Shanghai Evergreen School, an outstanding primary school in Shanghai, became the first primary school in Shanghai to launch Hebrew classes there. It is a part of their efforts to boost students’ interests in minority languages. and the teachers are from SISU (Shanghai International Studies University). These including Israeli teacher Miri Beck, who is a Professor of Hebrew at the university. Indeed SISU is one of the few Chinese universities which teach Hebrew.
Shanghai Evergreen school decided to offer Hebrew classes for their grade 4 students, and they will learn it for 4 years until grade 8. The class will be composed of group learning, games, animation watching and culture experiencing. The students are all very much interested in the Hebrew language, and are curious about Jewish culture and history as well. In China, it is fair to say, Israeli people are perceived, generally, as very smart people.
The China-Israel relationship has been getting closer and closer, and today Chinese companies are also undertaking more and more investment activities in Israel. In 2015, Shanghai alone contributed to three of the largest investments projects that took place in Israel. Shanghai was the home for nearly 20, 000 European Jewish refugees during World War Two, and now it is the most dynamic international financial centre in China, so Judaism and Israel aren’t unfamiliar to the people of Shanghai.
There will be a big innovation conference in Shanghai at the end of this month, and Israel is the titular “host nation” for the event this year, with lots of Israeli technology delegations coming to Shanghai. And “Israel Plan”, an NGO organisation, is going to invite 10 Israeli young people to visit China to experience the Spring Festival and meet with Chinese young people during the coming Chinese New Year in a few months time.