The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the largest countries in the world and Israel one of the smallest. But they nevertheless have joint interests and since the early 2000s, diplomatic relations between the two have grown quickly in scientific, cultural and educational cooperation, trade, diplomacy, military ties, tourism, investment and more.
Although China has strong connections with Arab and Muslim countries, including Iran, it also has a robust desire to maintain its relationship with Israel because of this country’s high-level knowhow and technology. In 1950, Israel was the first country in the Middle East to recognize the PRC as the legitimate government of China, which established normal diplomatic relations with Israel only in 1992.
China may soon take first place, replacing the US, as Israel’s chief investor. Because China is so vast, Israel looks to China as a highly growing economy and strategic economic partner that could be a huge market for its high-level products.
Now, an agreement described by both sides as a “breakthrough” has been reached to establish a Sino-Israel Center of Excellence within Bar-Ilan University’s Nanotechnology Center in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. The agreement was reached between the Chinese National Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Bar-Ilan’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA).
The signing ceremony at the Chinese National Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Institute )NCNST( was recently held in Beijing, with diplomats from the Israeli Embassy attending. It will be the first time that a Chinese Center of Excellence is established outside the borders of China.
CAS will set up the center, which will include a research lab enabling two-dimensional-printing materials such as folding screens about one-tenth in thickness
The agreement was signed by the host, institute director Prof. Yuliang Zhao and BINA director Prof. Dror Fixler. The new center’s lab, which will take in scientists from additional Israeli research institutes, will focus on nanomedicine, 2D materials engineering and especially graphene production. The lab will have the capability of printing folding screens one-tenth-of-a-meter thick.
The mobile phone, camera, cellular antenna and touch screen are products of nanotechnology. This is the technology of the future, as represented by flexible and folding screens made of the two-dimensional graphene recently displayed at the Barcelona cellular exhibition.
The main goal of the joint research laboratory, according to the initiators of the agreement, will be to integrate teamwork among Chinese and Israeli researchers and industrialists from both countries. Integrating the industrial component into the process will make possible the transfer of theoretical research specializing in nanomedical materials and graphene into products readily available to consumers.
The researchers taking part in this new challenge will conduct the most advanced research in the world with unprecedented technological potential that will pave the way for significantly advancing Sino-Israel scientific relations and whose impact may well be felt in the near future.
“This significant collaboration, amounting to a few million yuan, ultimately aims to create new job opportunities,” said Bar-Ilan University’s Fixler, who was one of the architects of the agreement. “It’s an initiative that will lead to the economic growth of both China and Israel.”
The signing of the agreement is the climax of a visit to China by a senior delegation of 13 researchers and BINA members from Bar-Ilan University to conduct talks regarding the new center.