The Chinese embassy in Israel sent gifts to officials for Passover. They were suspected to hide a listening device for a moment.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s Security Agency, was tasked on April 12 to check whether gifts sent by China to Israeli officials were bugged for espionage.
The Chinese embassy in Israel sent travel mugs to several ministries as a gift for Passover celebrations that start on April 15.
But the gifts have been suspected to be spying items after a standard security check in similar circumstances. A component was thought to be a potential listening device.
The Chinese embassy however was not pleased with the suspicions reported by Israeli news media at all. It released on Tuesday a statement denouncing “baseless rumors” that “have a severe impact as they aim to drive a wedge between China and Israel, tarnish China’s image and seriously mislead the public”.
The embassy explained the metallic device in the thermal mug was a getter, which would be easily found on the same types of mugs.
And after inspection, the Shin Bet eventually stated that none of the mugs sent as gifts for Passover were bugged after all. The getter was innocent. The piece is meant to keep a vacuum in the sides of the mug and maintain its temperature over time.
In 2021, China became Israel’s largest source of imports, surpassing even the United States, according to data published by Israel’s National Bureau of Statistics in January.