Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Passover gift from Chinese Embassy to Israeli minister bugged

A gift sent to an Israeli minister from the Chinese Embassy recently put security teams on their toes when it set off a loud alarm during routine screening. On further scrutiny a thermal mug – part of a big gift basket for the Jewish festival of Passover – was found bugged with a suspected listening device. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the basket meant for Science, Technology and Space Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen was immediately sent to the country’s security agency Shin Bet. All Chinese gift baskets sent out to different Israeli ministries have been collected for a thorough probe. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/passover-gift-from-chinese-embassy-to-israeli-minister-bugged-says-report/ar-AAW8EP8) The Culture and Sports Ministry said they had received a message from the Chinese embassy saying a cup was expected to arrive on Tuesday. Army Radio reported that Israeli government ministries were instructed to be cautious of gifts from other embassies, particularly the Chinese, due to fears of inbuilt listening devices or cameras. They have been asked to hand over such gifts to security officials and avoid bringing them to office. The Chinese embassy has rubbished the accusation and said it was spread by “forces that want to undermine Israeli-Chinese relations”. China last year replaced the US as Israel’s biggest exporter.

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