My time in Chengdu

Authors: Cobi Yanovsky (China Daily)


During my training at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, there was a rumor that Israel was about to open a new consulate in the west of China.
When it became reality I was appointed to become the first Deputy Consul General of Israel in Chengdu. I knew that I had just been given a great opportunity – to open a new consulate, and furthermore, to be one of the first official representatives of Israel in Southwest China – arguably the most interesting region of China these days.
Chengdu is Israel’s fourth mission in China; in addition to the embassy in Beijing and consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Consulate General of Israel in Chengdu is in charge of the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, and Chongqing municipality,
Living and working as an official Israeli representative in Chengdu holds a great challenge, both on the professional aspect and the personal one.
On the professional aspect, due to the great attention and attraction Israel receives among the Chinese people and vice versa, it is the consulate's responsibility to create a bridge between our two civilizations.
The Chinese people regard the Israeli people as very smart as related to Jewish culture. One of the most famous Jews in China is of course Albert Einstein. In 2010, before becoming a diplomat, I worked as a representative of Israel at the World Expo in Shanghai; at the Israeli Pavilion we displayed Einstein’s famous manuscript of the theory of relativity next to a big photo of him. During that time I had long hair and a beard and while explaining to the visitors about the manuscript they mentioned that I look very much similar to Einstein, for that I responded “of course, I am his great grandson”, I was only aware that this joke went too far and people believed me when a journalist came especially to the Israeli Pavilion to interview “Einstein great grandson”, of course he was disappointed when I told him the truth.
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