Walls of Jerusalem at night
Walls of Jerusalem at nightIsrael news photo: courtesy of Chabad.org

Israel has its first official Chinese Jewish tour guide, leading groups from China to Jerusalem and other sites of interest. Yecholiya Jin is a Chinese Israeli Jew with roots in Kaifeng, the ancient Jewish community of China.

“China is my home,” she told the Shavei Israel organization that assists assimilated Jewish communities to return to their Jewish roots. “Israel is also my home.”

Last year, 10,000 Chinese citizens came to Israel to tour, she noted.

“More and more are coming each year. But only certain things reach them through the media. Much is still secret. They want to come to know more, to understand the people and the environment here. And once they do, they will go home and tell other people what Israel looks like through their eyes,” Jin said.

China and Israel have been gradually strengthening economic ties.  Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz recently closed a deal with the Chinese government to help build an extension of the Israel Railways, from Nahal Tzin to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat. China also helped build Haifa's famous Carmel Tunnels, and is expected to help build the Haifa-Carmiel railway line as well.