The Israeli government has submitted its application to become a founding member of a controversial Chinese-led development bank, in a move that is likely to cause consternation in Washington.
Newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a letter to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) by the March 31 deadline, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
Israel would become the latest country to join the 40-nation bank, which already includes the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Australia.
“Israel’s membership in the Bank will open opportunities for integration of Israeli companies in various infrastructure projects, which will be financed by the bank,” said an Israeli government statement.
The creation of the Bank, under the vision of Chinese premier Xi Jinping, has attracted criticism from the United States, who has warned their closest allies against courting better relations with Beijing.