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“I will take for my wife the lady that this golden shoe fits.” Cinderella’s Prince
Pirating movies is big business. In much of Asia and South America improvised shops and stalls sell movies in cheap plastic sachets. In Bolivia, they face fierce competition from llama fetuses, used clothes, miniature idol-offerings, coca leaves, and dehydrated tubers.
This is a reasonable explanation for Israel’s Ministry of Tourism assessment that a blockbuster Chinese movie shot in Israel will boost Chinese tourism to the Holy Land; in 2012, only 20,000 Chinese reached Israel. The Ministry claims that in 2012, eight million Chinese chose their tourist destination according to what they had seen in movies.
Zhang Jingchu Seven Swords
Israel’s strong links with Hollywood have created a significant movies’ production infrastructure that eased the Ministry’s decision. The Tourism Ministry offices in China worked together with a Tel Aviv’s production company, and succeeded to convince director Lu Chuan and superstar Zhang Jingchu to partially shot Old Cinderella* in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The cast will arrive on April 16, 2013, for a week of filming.
The Israeli effort is considerable. The Ministry will invest over $80,000 in the promotion of the movie, not including a CNN interview with the director, which had been already broadcast, campaigns on Weibo, China’s most popular social website, and the hosting of journalists from leading Chinese media in Israel.
A competition in China, whose first prize is a vacation in Israel, has been announced. The step is rather unusual, especially when considering that it is only part of an Israeli cultural offensive on China; expectedly, this has military reasons.
Miri Mesika Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers
100 Million Viewers
On February 11, 2013, Beijing Television broadcast its annual Chinese New Year’s gala. It is the most popular show on that day, with more than 100 million viewers on television and internet. This year, it featured Israeli singer Miri Mesika; in 2008, she was chosen Female Singer of the Year by Music Channel 24, Reshet Gimel, and Galgalatz and has sold more than 100,000 albums.
In the New Year’s gala, she sang a duet in Chinese with a famous Chinese singer. The show included remarks by Israel’s Ambassador to China Matan Vilnai and a short clip about Israel. “Miri’s song and the Israeli connection created a moving effect, which we hope will be relayed to the millions watching the broadcast on February 11,” said Ran Peleg of the Israeli Embassy in China, shortly before the event. This second cataclysmic event in the recent relations between the two countries exposed the figure running the show: Israel’s Ambassador to China Matan Vilnai.
Ambassador and Major General
Important Israeli ambassadors are not professional diplomats. More often than not they are retired politicians or generals that retired from the IDF and are about to join the political arena. Ora Namir, former Ambassador to China is a good example of the first; in the second category, one may remember Yitzhak Rabin as Israel’s Ambassador to the USA. Matan Vilnai didn’t fit neither category; he was sent urgently to China in 2012.
As a young officer of IDF’s elite commando unit, Major General Matan Vilnai was deputy commander of the Operation Thunderbolt’s assault force in Entebbe, under the command of Ehud Barak. Later, he became Head of the Manpower Directorate, and Deputy Chief of Staff. After leaving the IDF, he joined Labor, entered the Knesset and served in various ministerial posts: Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in Barak’s and Sharon’s governments; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office during Sharon’s government, and later Minister of Science and Technology in the same government.
In 2007, he became Deputy Minister of Defense. In February 2008, Vilnai threatened “Gazan Palestinians will bring upon themselves a bigger ‘shoah’ (Holocaust) because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”
In 2011, he again followed Barak and left Labor. As part of the newly formed Independence Party, he became Minister for the Home Front; a newly formed ministry which deals with civilian defense. In February 2012, he left everything without previous notice and run to Beijing as Israel’s new ambassador.
It was lucky for him because a few months later, Netanyahu succeeded in forcing Barak not to run in the 2013 elections (Barak Quits, Barak Reborn).
Matan Vilnai The Prince—Niccolò Machiavelli
Friends or Foes?
Reliable rumors claim that the word “complexity” was originally designed to describe the relations between China and Israel; only later it was adopted by fields like chaos and quantum mechanics. The two countries established relations only in 1992. Yet, the two countries cooperated before that in various odd affairs, apparently even in the help of Afghani mujahedeen.
Currently, their bilateral trade is over $10 billion. Israel supplies solar energy, manufacturing robotics, irrigation, construction, agricultural and water management and desalination technologies with more than 1,000 Israeli firms operating in China, while Chinese firms are a key player in the kosher food industry, with 500 factories producing for the American and Israeli kosher markets. The peak official event between the countries was the 2007 visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
*In Hebrew, Cinderella appears in two forms. “Sinderela” is the closest phonetic adaptation of the name. The other one is “Lichluchit;” this is a bad attempt to translate the meaning because it literally means “Little Dirt.” Would the movie be broadcast in Israel as “Old Little Dirt?” Actress Zhang Jingchu should check that out.
Reality folds in odd ways; Olmert was impeached on false accusations and acquitted. He used his regained innocence to hit the most probable figure behind his impeachment: Netanyahu. Olmert’s careful whisper destroyed Netanyahu’s dreams (see cartoon’s caption), who emerged from the recent elections as a lame duck.
The issue behind the whisper was Israel preparations for an attack on Iran, a close ally of China. Iran supplies around 10% of China’s oil consumption. On December 17, 2011, Israel reported that Iran hit an American satellite; providing enough hints that the technology behind the feat was provided by China. Israel didn’t wait; Major General Vilnai was appointed Ambassador and sent to China to save the Zionist dream one more time.
His actions on the military relations between the countries have not been disclosed; yet, we are seeing a Zionist cultural offensive in Chinese, in a desperate attempt to improve the relations and gain political leverage. Even Miri Mesika is learning that ancient tongue. A Chinese Cinderella is about to arrive at Tel Aviv, where nothing is what it looks, not even Jewish princesses.
“They should go to Hell, we spent billions on their adventurous hallucinations that won’t be implemented” Haaretz Post-Elections Cartoon
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.