Ambassador of the State of Israel Visiting IR Department

For the 15th Tsinghua Ambassador Talk on May 14th, the Department of International Relations welcomed the Ambassador of the State of Israel Matan Vilnai, who gave a talk on China, Israel and The Changing Middle East: Perspective from the Israeli Ambassador.

Ambassador Vilnai first gave an overview of the unique history of Israel and its difficult situation within the Middle East. He explained how the prevailing conflict in the Middle East is rooted in the unfortunate borders that were decided upon by foreign powers. He elaborated on various conflicts that have been prevailing ever since the declaration of Israels independence.


He further explained that internal Muslim religious conflict taking place near Israels borders, between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, further destabilises the region. Ambassador Vilnai explained how important it is for Israelis to be ready to defend themselves in a hostile environment. However, he also stressed that war should always be avoided if possible.


In the Q&A session after Ambassador Vilnais talk, questions mainly regarded China-Israel relations. The ambassador explained that despite Israels increased interest in China and the important trade relations, Israel and the US not only share values and beliefs but also similar goals and interests in the Middle East. Hence, despite minor disagreements between the US and Israel, the US will remain Israels most importantally.


The Ambassador also shared his view on the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran and explained that from an Israelis perspective it is not sufficient and only delays Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. He believes that through further sanctions and international pressure Iran could be further denuclearized, which is vital for regional security.