After years of pressure from officials in Washington, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved the establishment of an interministerial panel to oversee Chinese and other foreign investments that could pose a security threat to U.S. military and intelligence assets, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
The oversight body will be authorized to advise on potential investments in companies critical to the economy or national security, such as financial institutions, telecommunication companies and military industries.
Representatives from the Finance Ministry, National Security and observers from the Foreign Ministry, Economics Ministry and the National Economic Council are to have a role in the oversight mechanism.
The decision was the result of almost three years of discussions with American officials who have repeatedly expressed concern over Chinese penetration of the Israeli economy. In particular, Chinese takeover of Haifa Port has been raised as an intelligence risk for U.S. naval vessels which have until now routinely docked there. The U.S. reportedly threatened that if the Chinese issue were not resolved, American ships would have to go elsewhere.
A senior U.S. official told the Post several days ago that Washington “feels that Israel has come a long way in understanding the U.S. concerns on the matter, more so than in the past.”