Meet the Future Today: The Israel-Asia Center

The economic fortunes of China have been front-page news this week. From James Chanos warning that China is “Dubai times 1,000 – or worse” to Thomas Friedman writing in today’s The New York Times, “All the long-term investments that China has made over the last two decades are just blossoming and could really propel the Chinese economy into the 21st-century knowledge age, starting with its massive investment in infrastructure.”

With conversations focused on bubbles, economics and Google’s latest China policy, off most people’s radar are the continuing, and growing, ties between Israel and the various countries in Asia. Due to current realities, it is of paramount importance for Israel to strengthen its relationship and understanding of the entire region, not only China.

Enter The Israel-Asia Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting understanding and furthering cooperation between Israel, the Jewish world and Asia.

Spearheading this initiative is Jerusalem resident Rebecca Zeffert, a PR and public affairs specialist and Chinese studies graduate who is supported by a 20-member team of volunteers in Israel, China and the United States.

Here’s Rebecca: “As Asia’s role on the world stage and in global economic and political realities grows, North America and Europe have been equipping themselves to effectively expand their interests with these growing Asian giants. However, Israel is surprisingly behind in its preparedness for a future in which its partners will not only lie in the West.

The Israeli government, industry and academic institutions – not to mention the Jewish Diaspora – need to make a more concerted effort to promote Israel’s interests in Asia in order to ensure a more secure and prosperous Israel in the coming decades.

China’s interest in and admiration for the Jewish people, for example, is a unique and unprecedented opportunity for Israel and the Jewish world to develop a strong relationship with 20% of the world’s population and the world’s soon-to-be second largest economy.”

You can learn more about The Israel-Asia Center, or contact Rebecca, through the project Website.

The Israel-Asia Center is one of the ventures nurtured during this past summer’s cohort of the PresenTense Institute.