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October 19, 2015 6:18 am

Chinese College Hosts Israeli-Jewish Film Festival

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

Benjamin Netanyahu with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at an official welcoming ceremony. Photo: Israel GPO.

Benjamin Netanyahu with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at an official welcoming ceremony. Photo: Israel GPO.

BEIJING — The first student-organized Israeli film festival in China was recently held at a Beijing university, and drew more than 100 Chinese students. From September 22-25, students participated in the Israeli and Jewish Film Festival held at the China Agricultural University. Students learned about Israel’s culture and history, as well as about Jewish traditions and food (bagels were served, for example).

The film festival organizer, Qi Li, told Tazpit Press Service that there had never been an official Israeli-Jewish film festival to her knowledge in China. “I’m proud to say that this is the first Chinese University Israeli Film Festival,” Qi Li said to TPS.

“I think it’s important to educate the young generation about Israel and let them know that there are many academic and economic opportunities in Israel,” said Qi Li.

The students watched the films “Israel Inside,” “Above and Beyond,” “The Prince of Egypt” and “Wunderkinder.”

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“Students found that the films were a great way to learn about Israel. Moreover, the event also brought together students who traveled to Israel and those students who plan to visit Israel in the future,” Qi said. Students were able to see other sides to Israel, and not just the conflict often depicted in Chinese media.

Qi Li graduated from San Jose State University in California, where she made many Jewish friends and frequently visited the Hillel House.

She participated in an Israel advocacy program called BlueStar Fellows in 2012, and subsequently visited Israel on a 10-day trip. A native of Sichuan, China, Qi says that the Chinese people hold Jewish intellect and Israel’s economic prowess in high regard.

For Qi Li, the film festival was a way for her to establish a platform that united young Israel advocates in China, the world’s most populous nation. “China and Israel only established diplomatic relations in 1992, and while economic and academic exchanges between us have increased dramatically, there are still a lot of opportunities,” she said.

Indeed, the China Agricultural University, the site of the film festival, is also home to the Chinese-Israeli International Center for Research and Training in Agriculture, which was established through the Center for International Cooperation of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) in 1993.

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