Israel: Mayor to work overtime in Chinese boomtown

Haifa, Israel
Image caption Haifa, Israel

The mayor of Haifa, Israel - Yona Yahav - will offer his expertise to China's booming high-tech hub of Shenzhen, it's reported.

Shenzhen's current Mayor, Xu Qin, received special permission from Beijing for the appointment, according to Israel's Maariv newspaper.

In little over 30 years, the Chinese city has transformed from a fishing village to a booming metropolis of 10.5 million people, and officials hope the Israeli mayor can help oversee its transformation.

"Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, and Tel Aviv plays" is a common Israeli saying - reflecting the city's image as a technological and industrial powerhouse - and helps explain China's interest in borrowing its mayor's talents.

Rony Geven, an Israeli China analyst, told The Times of Israel that although Yahav might not have final say on decisions in Shenzhen, the new role indicates "China's appreciation for Israeli achievements in science and technology".

The move signals ever closer ties between China and Israel, which has already advised Beijing on technology, agriculture, medicine and water management, Maariv says.

Image caption Shenzen, China

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