One of Beijing's largest universities is set to establish an Israeli economics and Judaism department, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
China's University of International Business Economics (UIBE) has decided to offer its students the opportunity to study about the development of Israel's economy, high-tech, business
culture, the economy's political aspect as well as about key figures in Israel's economic history.
The department will be headed by University President Shi Jianjun and Zhao Shu, who will serve as the department's secretary. "The Chinese are very impressed with Israel's economy and believe it's a model," Shu said.
Behind the initiative is Israel's chamber of commerce in Beijing.
"One of the goals is to strengthen trade between Israel and China," said General Manager Fani Gurevich.
Additional proof of the interest the Chinese take in Israel – at the University for Foreign Affairs in Beijing the first class of 16 students has completed studies in Hebrew language and culture. Another 40 students are currently studying Hebrew at the university, while another dozen or so learn Hebrew in other Chinese universities.
Ron Peleg, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Beijing said, "The more Israel
is relevant to the Chinese market, the more interest there is in learning Hebrew."
Matan Tzuri contributed to this report