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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘bank’

Haredi Party Spearheading Effort to Protect Israeli Religious Charities from US Tax Authorities

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The heads of charity organizations in the ultra-Orthodox society, commonly known as Gemachim, received at least a temporary measure of relief from the Knesset Finance Committee, chaired by MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), ahead of a new amendment of the Income Tax Act that takes effect in September and compels Israeli financial institutions to report through the local tax authorities on the Israeli financial affairs of US citizens. The amendment is the result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA) agreement between Israel and the US, which was a prerequisite for continued cooperation between Israeli and American financial institutions.

It’s not much, but MK Gafni demanded that the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel order the banks to give the Gemachim time until the end of June to resolve their status as public institutions, which he hopes would allow them to exclude themselves from the FATCA rules. Gafni envisions a tweaking of the amendment to exclude groups with deposits of less than $50 thousand, or holdings worth less than $50 million.

According to Chairman Gafni, the new regulations could bring the collapse of the Gemachim. “The Israeli government signed an agreement with the US government without considering the disastrous consequences for one of the most important enterprises of the Jewish people that has existed for millennia — the charity and mutual aid societies,” Gafni said, explaining that the Gemachim are “the only means at the disposal of a person under financial duress to receive an interest-free loan to get back on his feet.”

MK Israel Eichler (UTJ), Chairman of the Public Petitions, summoned Dr. Ilan Steiner, Director of the Bank of Israel Currency Department, to his committee hearing, to warn him against another aspect of the US attack on these charity institutions. According to Eichler, banks are being forced under pressure from foreign governments to close the accounts of Gemachim accounts, “in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ and stopping money laundering, the IRS and the American government have become supervisors of all bank accounts around the world including in Israel. Everyone has to go through their inspection, so the Gemachim have received a letter that they will not be able to keep their bank accounts anymore.”

MK Eichler told Dr. Steiner: “I hope that the Bank of Israel find a way to abide by the agreements with the US while not mixing up the Gemachim with the war on terror. The banks must not become a burden and a restriction on associations and charity organizations who want to help people and do not engage in terrorism. There are limits to the madness of the banking system. We must not allow the charity organizations and Gemachim to be paralyzed by American pressures.”

The issues of compliance regarding money laundering and the war on terror stem from the side benefits of an IRS act that was intended to make sure US citizens who make money abroad share some of it with Uncle Sam. According to the IRS, FATCA targets tax non-compliance by US taxpayers with foreign accounts, focusing on individuals’ reporting about foreign financial accounts and offshore assets, as well as by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

Using the US’ enormous economic clout, FATCA bullies the world’s financial institutions into reporting on their American clients to Uncle Sam. Under FATCA, to avoid being withheld upon, foreign financial institutions must register with the IRS and agree to report to the IRS about their US accounts, including accounts of foreign entities with a substantial US ownership. Foreign institutions that enter into an agreement with the IRS to report on their account holders may be required to withhold 30% on certain payments to foreign payees if such payees do not comply with FATCA.

Talk about working for the Yankee dollar.

According to The Marker, Gemachim stand to suffer three different ways from the new law: instead of permitting a Gemach to transfer money into their accounts, they could now be questioned regarding the source of the funds and whether or not tax was paid on them in the US; each deposit could be subject to harassment by the bank, in order to verify that it is not part of a money laundering scheme; and the Gemach could be saddled with a new definition as a financial institution, and as such would be compelled to report on its fund sources to the IRS or face criminal sanctions.

JNi.Media

Israeli Banks Post Strong Figures for 2015

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Israel’s two largest banks posted a strong year for 2015.

Bank Hapoalim noted its annual revenue rose 2.4 percent last year to NIS 14.36 billion. Net profits rose 13.6 percent to NIS 3.08 billion, according to Globes.

Credit to the public rose 5.8 percent to NIS 278.49 billion and deposits from the public rose 8.2 percent to NIS 321.72 billion.

Bank Leumi’s annual non-interest revenue rose to NIS 6.29 billion in 2015 from NIS 5.14 billion in 2014, although net interest revenue fell to NIS 7.11 billion, from NIS 7.36 billion a year earlier.

Net profit jumped to NIS 2.83 billion for 2015, compared with NIS 1.4 billion in 2014.

Credit to the public grew 3.5 percent to NIS 261.4 billion and deposits from the public rose 8.3 percent to NIS 328.7 billion.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Iran Grants Venezuela $500 Million Line of Credit

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Iran has granted Venezuela a $500 million line of credit, according to the Saudi website, Aawsat.

The line of credit is part of a larger framework of six economic cooperation agreements with Venezuela.

Back in 2012, when Iran was banned from SWIFT banking transactions, which could have actually kept it out of much of the international markets and made the sanctions even more effective, Iran easily bypassed the problem with an alternative, rogue financial system it help set up with some South American countries, including Venezuela.

The system had already been set up by Iran in anticipation of the SWIFT ban.

The Iranians are demanding an immediate lifting of sanctions and freeing of their assets as part of the nuclear deal with President Obama.

Sometimes it appears the Iranians are always 2 steps ahead of the U.S.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Hamas Government District Wrecked by IAF Overnight Pounding

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Last night the aim of the IAF strikes on Gaza broadened beyond rocket launchers and munitions, to include the Ministry of Internal Security – which served as one of the main command and control centers for the Hamas terror organization – as well as an important police compound and a military hideout used as both a meeting place for senior operatives and a communications center. Additionally, Israeli Navy soldiers targeted a rocket launching site, a Hamas post, and a structure used for Hamas’ terror activity.

In a joint IDF-ISA mission, the IDF targeted, in a pinpoint strike, a Hamas intelligence operations center, which was deliberately located in a media building in the Gaza Strip. In addition, IAF aircraft targeted a senior Hamas operative in the aerial defense operations, several terrorist squads, and a terrorist who was identified at the launching site from which a rocket was fired towards Jerusalem yesterday.

The IDF targeted approximately 50 underground rocket launchers, terror tunnels, three weapons storage facilities, and a weapons manufacturing site.

The IDF also targeted a system of tunnels used to transport fuel to Hamas, as Hamas had used the transported fuel to support its terror activities. This was a major source of income for the Hamas, who used to purchase the gasoline cheap from the Egyptians, and sell it to its own people at Israeli prices ($16 a gallon, in case you were curious).

Here are the results of last night’s attacks. It’s been said that the IAF targets bank is already running on overdraft:




Yori Yanover

My Great Grandmother

Monday, November 19th, 2012

If you look up the word “role model” in the dictionary you will find the following definition: “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”

This is the ideal description of my great-grandmother. To me, she is more than just an ancestor in my family tree, she is the epitome of inspiration. She has proved herself to be a rose among thorns and a woman of valor. I am genuinely proud to call her my grandma and I am so blessed to have such an awesome person in my life.

“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they taught me,” (Scott Adams). If I had one hour to be with the person of my choice it would surely be my Grandma.

In May 1911, a very special being came into existence. Her name is Paula. Back then, she was just a decedent of her grandparents, but now she is the heart of the Felsenstein Family. Grandma’s loving nature and uplifting spirit is what makes people, including her family and friends, gravitate towards her. Although Grandma endured many difficult challenges throughout the years, she refused to be limited by circumstance. The long, arduous journeys that Grandma embarked on are ones to remember and pass down to the generations coming.

I can learn much about the act of giving and being selfless from my Grandma. Living in Germany she used to generously give food to the hundreds of people who lined up outside her door. Grandma and her husband owned a horse-hair brush company which also made hats for British soldiers. Both of their products were purchased by Buckingham Palace.

Grandma married young, and a couple years into her marriage the Nazis started gaining power. Grandma and her husband fled to England where they were assured safety, although their plan of escape was far from simple. They were forced to walk across mountains for days, at one point paying people to help them cross borders in the back of an ambulance truck. I am trying hard to visualize the kind of agonizing hardships they’ve lived through. And the truth is, I probably would not be able to handle it the same way they did. The amount of faith and belief they had is simply indescribable.

And the miracles. Before they left Germany, Grandpa put all his money in the bank, leaving everything behind. In 1945, when the war ended, they returned to Germany without a penny to their name. Then a neighbor called asking to buy their house. Grandpa went to the bank and discovered that all of Grandma’s jewelry had been stored in a safe under their name. Grandma and Grandpa were extremely grateful for the miracles Hashem did for them.

About 40 years ago, my grandparents moved to Israel, where Grandma continues to live as a widow.

My desire and longing to be with my Grandma right now grows stronger and stronger each day. At 101 years old, my Grandma is the strongest lady I know – mentally and emotionally. Despite her old age, Grandma is constantly helping others and imprinting the lives of many with her inspirational and motivating stories. I strive to be like her in the way I live my life and hope that one day, when I have kids, they will live that way as well.

A wise man once said, “Someone who influences the thoughts of the people around her influences all the times that follow.” I love and cherish my Grandma unconditionally.

Goldy Felsenstein

Three Ways That Your Pension May be Spent Before It Enters Your Bank Account

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

When saving for retirement, you may feel secure because you’re putting aside earnings into a pension plan. However, what you may not realize is that some of that money is going to be spent even before it reaches your bank account.

There are 3 ways in which your pension can disappear:

1. Taxes. Having a work-related pension is important because no matter how many years you worked, government social security programs won’t meet all of your post-retirement needs. As helpful as your pension is, be aware that some type of pension plans are taxed as ordinary income when you start taking withdrawals.

2. Debt.  If you still have debts (mortgage, credit cards, or other loans) when you retire, they will need to be paid before your discretionary expenses.  If you are having a hard time making ends meet before you retire, imagine how much more difficult it will be post-retirement on a smaller paycheck.

3.  Charity.  Retirement shouldn’t spell an end to your charitable donations.  If you are careful to give 10, 15, or 20 percent of your income to charity during the years before your retirement, why should you stop post-retirement? To paraphrase the beggar from Fiddler on the Roof, “Just because you’ve retired, I have to suffer?” Depending on your pension and other income-producing investments, you may not be able to make as generous donations as you once did, but certainly charity shouldn’t stop when you retire.

Remember that numbers can be deceiving – after taxes, paying off debt, and giving charity, the amount of your pension may not match the amount deposited in your bank account.  While this sounds drastic, adequate planning can help make up the shortfall.

So before your retirement income is spent before you actually retire review the figures so that you can be prepared. To make this easier, use these easy-to-use calculators to work out how much you are spending on existing loans, mortgages, and more.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Bank of China May Have Helped Hamas Kill Jews

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Terrorist groups, like Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, are enterprises like businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Hamas, in fact, is a government, controlling the 141 square miles and 1.7 million people of the Gaza Strip.

Human enterprises are organisms with systems for sustenance, logistics, command and control, etc. They also have ideologies, and that of Hamas calls for violent jihad against the Jewish state. Its usual tactic is murderous terrorism against Jewish civilians. So, in 2008, a Hamas terrorist entered the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and murdered eight students, seven of them teenagers, and wounded many others.

Enterprises can’t survive without nourishment. Hamas is nourished by a worldwide network of governments, Islamic charities and individuals that support its goal of killing or dispersing the Jews.

But the existence of the sources of nourishment isn’t enough. Since Hamas is a recognized as a terrorist organization and sanctioned by the US and other nations, there are impediments to transferring funds to it which can be translated into weapons, ammunition and jihadist expenses.

Sometimes this is facilitated by ‘respectable’ enterprises that are officially opposed to terrorism and murder, but in fact do whatever makes them a buck.

Like the Bank of China, according to the Israel Law Center — Shurat HaDin, which has filed a $1 billion lawsuit in a New York court accusing the bank of materially supporting Hamas terrorism.

The plaintiffs allege that starting in 2003, the national Chinese bank executed dozens of wire transfers for Hamas totaling several million dollars. These transfers were initiated by the Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria, processed through BOC branches in the United States and sent on to a BOC account in China operated by a senior militant. From there, the funds were transferred to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

In April 2005, Israeli counterterrorism officers met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and China’s Central Bank. The Israelis demanded that the Chinese officials take action to prevent the BOC from making any further such wire transfers. “Despite these warnings the state-owned bank, with Beijing’s approval, continued to wire funds for terrorism, all while declaring that they did not consider Hamas a terrorist group,” stressed [Shurat HaDin director Nitsana] Darshan-Leitner. [my emphasis]

According to the complaint: “Most of these wire transfers were made to account #4750401-0188-150882-6 at a Bank of China branch in Guangzhou, China, in the name of ‘S.Z.R Al-Shurafa.’ The owner of the account, Said al-Shurafa, is a senior officer and agent of both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”

The Bank of China has released a statement saying, in effect, that they would never dream of doing anything to help terrorists. But the complaint is persuasive in its argument that the bank’s officials had plenty of information about what Hamas was doing with the money it was transferring.

This would not be the first time that Shurat HaDin — a private legal organization — has struck a blow for victims of terrorism. In May, it obtained a $330 million judgment against Syria for its part in a 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed a 16-year old American. Although Bashar al-Assad is unlikely to pay it, it can be enforced against Syrian assets like bank accounts and real estate in the US.

Will the families of the Mercaz HaRav massacre victims be compensated? Maybe or maybe not, but if Israeli officials were unable to get the Bank of China’s attention in 2005, they have it now.

Visit Fresnozionism.org.

Vic Rosenthal

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/bank-of-china-may-have-helped-hamas-kill-jews/2012/10/28/

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