(JTA) — The Senate has introduced legislation to enhance partnerships between American and Israeli companies on COVID-19 projects, thus lessening U.S. dependence on China for life-saving medications and treatments.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced on Wednesday, May 13 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on a whirlwind eight-hour visit to Israel, criticized China while praising Israel.
“You’re a great partner,” Pompeo said in an appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting in Jerusalem. “You share your information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide information. And we’ll talk about that country, too.”
The U.S. has pressed Israel to reconsider allowing Chinese investment in national projects, including work on the Haifa Port, where the U.S. Sixth Fleet is anchored, and building the Sorek 2 water desalination plant on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel.
Following Pompeo’s visit to Israel, a senior State Department official told reporters that China is “not a reliable partner,” and that while Pompeo doesn’t have a problem with countries having relationships or trading with China, the pandemic is different.
“I think COVID sort of highlights the dangers of dealing with states that are not transparent, that don’t have fair trade practices, that really leverage and torque their trade to leverage certain things out of their trade partners,” the official said.