ISRAEL'S SECRET WEAPON

For this trading tycoon, a $3.5 billion military sale to China is only one chapter in a story of rags-to-riches success and nonstop wheeling and dealing

At a formal dinner in a Beijing hotel last week, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin toasted a rotund 72-year-old at the table and offered a tribute: ''Mr. Eisenberg opened the doors to China for Israel.'' It was a rare moment in the public spotlight for Israeli tycoon Shoul Eisenberg, but senior officials at the dinner knew exactly what Rabin meant. Modern weaponry is at the heart of the Jerusalem-Beijing relationship, and Eisenberg has been selling Israeli defense technology to the Chinese for more than a decade. Eisenberg is the real-life version of the international power brokers who appear in the pages...

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