During his current trip to China, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has largely avoided discussing issues related to Israeli international or domestic policy, such as the recent alleged Israel Air Force attacks in Syria or the battle over the budget. However, Netanyahu’s spokesmen have been bombarding the media here every few minutes with statements about "the boss'" efforts to promote economic cooperation with China.
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One such statement sent to Israeli journalists Wednesday informed them that Netanyahu had held a “live video-chat" with millions of people on the Chinese website Xinhua.net. This is a portal operated by the official Chinese news agency, which is controlled by the government.
In their attempt to present a “cool” image of Netanyahu, his spokesman forgot to note that the Internet in China is monitored and filtered by the government. Chinese citizens cannot surf international news sites freely or access Wikipedia or content about Tibet or Taiwan.
Netanyahu’s bureau also forgot to mention to Israelis that despite the term “live video chat,” Netanyahu had received the questions in writing ahead of time, in the best Chinese tradition.
One of the questions Netanyahu received in advance asked about his hobbies. Netanyahu’s response, which was also apparently ready well beforehand, was conveyed in a statement released today by the prime minister’s bureau:
“I read a lot, I walk a lot and to really relax – I spend time with my family. Time spent with family, or reading, as well as in learning and education, are typical of our culture. We, as the People of the Book pass texts from father to son throughout the generations, just like the Chinese people."