The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Head of Defense Export Control, Meir Shalit, resigned last week after the United States expressed anger over a decision he made to sell sensitive military equipment to China, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Sunday. At the time, Shalit did not provide a reason for his resignation.
Washington asserted that his authorization of the sale of a miniature cooling system for missiles was in direct violation of Israel’s preexisting obligations to the United States.
The conflict came as a result of differing interpretations of defense agreements between Israel and the U.S., according to the report. Israel claimed that the highly sensitive part was actually sold to a European company as part of a separate deal, but the Americans contended that the fact that it ultimately wound up in China is a breach of long-standing arrangements between Washington and Jerusalem.
Furthermore, there is fear among the Americans that this advanced technology has found its way from China to Iran.
About a month ago, according to Ma’ariv, American officials confronted Israel on the issue of how the part ended up in China. At this point, Shalit assumed full responsibility and said that he would resign. Over the past weekend while on a visit to the United States, Shalit personally apologized to American officials for authorizing the sale.
The cooling system is made by Ricor Systems, a worldwide leader in innovative cooler technology for the infrared, scientific instrumentation and semiconductor industries.
The past year has seen a significant boon in ties between Israel and China. The development of relations between the two countries was highlighted during a visit to Israel last week by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.