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First China Cultural Festival to be held in Israel
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Israeli audience will have a great opportunity to savor a variety of ancient Chinese culture in the next few months, as the first China Cultural Festival is going to be held in Israel starting from late May.

Zhang Xiao'an, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Israel, announced on Sunday at a press conference in Jerusalem that the feast will open on May 25 by the renowned Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe of China with the acrobatic show Heroes.

Following the opening performances, a series of different Chinese cultural events will be held throughout Israel, including Chinese folk dance, folk music and songs, arts and crafts, photo exhibitions, plays and movies.

The festival, which is jointly held by Chinese and Israeli governments, is dedicated to mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and will last for about six months until November 2007.

More than 200 performers from all over China will be coming to the Jewish nation to participate the event, and the festival will be the greatest event in the sphere of cultural exchanges between China and Israel, said Zhang.

"The festival will open a broad vista where the richness and profoundness of Chinese culture vividly unfolds, and it will promote the cultural cooperation between China and Israel," She added.

Arthur Avnon, Head of Division for Cultural and Scientific Affairs in the Israeli Foreign Ministry also said at the conference that, Israel is happy to host Chinese artists, "cultural exchange is important for the two peoples".

"Besides the up-coming China Cultural Festival, Israel is also planning to held a lot of cultural activities in China." he said.

According to Avnon, six Israeli dance groups are going to visit Shanghai to participate the international cultural festival there. Israel is also planning a series of cultural-exchange activities in the field of music and literature in China.

"We are very happy that all these activities are going on, we attach great importance to the relations between the two peoples, not only the governments," said Avnon.

In the past 15 years, bilateral relations between China and Israel have witnessed a rapid development and scored remarkable achievements.

On the political level, China and Israel have all along attached much importance to each other and have worked to build mutual trust in bilateral, regional and international affairs.

The bilateral trade volume between the two nations has increased from US$50 million to US$3.88 billion over the past 15 years, with an average annual growth rate of 40 percent.

Currently, there are more than 800 Israeli commercial companies doing business in China, among which, more than 200 have set up branch companies.

As of culture, China and Israel have exchanges in performing art, music, exhibition and film festivals.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2007)

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