China’s digital yuan: should Israel be concerned?
In the midst of confronting a crisis of epic proportions, the People's Bank of China introduced the "digital yuan" pilot programs across four citie —making China the world's first global superpower to roll out a national digital currency. That China's leadership rolled out this project in late April while simultaneously dealing with the profound social, economic, and political challenges caused by Covid-19, reflects just how important this development is to the Communist Party. 

But why is it so important to China? How will it influence the balance of power in the global arena? And what does all this have to do with Israel? 

China’s bear hug for the blockchain
As the world confronts the profound social, economic and political challenges that have emerged in the wake of Covid-19, Beijing has unleashed digital innovations that hold profound implications for the future of international trade, global governance, and geopolitics.

On April 25, in the midst of battling the pandemic, China’s government established the world’s largest blockchain ecosystem, the Blockchain Service Network (BSN), and its central bank introduced “digital yuan” pilot programs across four cities – making the People’s Republic the world’s first major economy to issue a national digital currency.

Pompeo Visits Israel: China is likely to be on the agenda
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to land in Israel on Wednesday. His visit coincides with the swearing-in of a new Israeli government, breaking the country’s year-long political deadlock. The COVID-19 pandemic and moves towards annexing parts of the West Bank are likely to dominate Mr. Pompeo’s discussions with both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Yet also likely to be on the agenda is the thorny issue of US-China tensions and Israel’s position in relation to them.

The US is Israel’s closest strategic ally. The two countries share democratic values and a belief in free and fair trade within a rules-based international order. In the Middle East – Israel’s backyard – Jerusalem and Washington see eye to eye on many strategic and security issues. When it comes to dealing with China, however, the picture is less clear.

Containing COVID-19: what the US & China can learn from Israel
COVID-19 has now spread to over 200 territories around the globe, infected 3,232,061 people, and claimed the lives of 228,504. Healthcare systems are being overwhelmed, and global supply chains have been severely disrupted. The sheer magnitude of this crisis beckons for countries to work together to contain the virus. Nevertheless, America and China have decided to play the blame game rather than uniting for the betterment of society. Chinese officials have taken to social media, promoting the narrative that the virus was spread by the American military, while President Trump has resorted to calling it the “China Virus.” Instead of joining forces to “flatten the curve,” both powers seem more inclined to use the crisis to advance their own political agendas. Tensions are escalating. 

Meanwhile, in the Middle East: Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Hamas have remarkably managed to put their differences aside as they battle this new common enemy.

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