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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘bank’

Cyber Attacks UPDATE: Israeli Banks Block Int’l Access to Websites

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In efforts to limit exposure and minimize vulnerability to the recent wave of anti-Israel cyber attacks, Israel Discount Bank and First International Bank of Israel have blocked international access to their websites.

This move is likely to cause hardship for Israelis living abroad as they will not have web-access to their accounts.

Jewish Press Staff

Angry Israeli Investors, Consumers Gearing Up For New Protests

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Expect to see new rounds of protests by Israeli investors and consumers against financially strapped business leaders and supermarket chains and food conglomerates that have raised prices drastically on basic foodstuffs over the past few months.

The frustration among local investors and consumers comes against the backdrop of a slowing Israeli economy, which is feeling the effects of the economic turmoil within the European Union. According to financial sources, the Israeli economy, which grew by nearly 5 percent last year, will grow at a rate of less 3 percent in 2012.

Israeli economists have speculated that the resignation of Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor, who announced on Monday that she was stepping down after 17 years at Israel’s second largest bank, was a telltale sign that the Jewish state’s economy was entering a period of uncertainty.

In just the past few weeks, leading Israeli financial publications reported that local and foreign business owners in the EU owe tens of billions of dollars to Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi. Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer has assured the Israeli public that local banks were fiscally sound despite the outstanding debts.

But Israelis are growing increasingly impatient and angry with moguls such as Yitzhak Tshuva (Delek Corporation), Ilan Ben-Dov (Tao Tsuot Ltd./Partner Communicatons) and Yossi Maimon (Ampal Corporation), who’ve lost billions of shekels through bad investments and have asked public and private corporate bondholders to forgive large portions of their debts.

An increasing number of Israelis who’ve invested in corporate bonds and stocks have threatened legal action against the tycoons unless they invest large sums of their personal money to cover their debts and agree to cease using corporate monies to provide stratospheric salaries and other perks to business associates and family members.

Meanwhile, prices on basic foodstuffs such as mayonnaise, tea, ketchup, tuna fish and soup mixes at major supermarkets such as Shufersal, Mega and Rami Levi have risen between 60 and 150 percent since the end of the Rosh Hashanah/Sukkot holiday season in October.

Bnei Brak social activist Yitzchak Alrov, who last summer spurred a nationwide protest against skyrocketing cottage cheese products via a simple Facebook campaign, is working with student leaders and other social justice activists to orchestrate another boycott unless the supermarkets and food conglomerates substantially cut their prices.

Steve K. Walz

Will Anyone Admit Wrongdoing?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

“We anticipate a direct conflict with Egypt in the near future,” explained Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, one of the great patrons of the peace accords with Egypt, recently.

Israel’s direct conflict with Egypt has never ended. But for the last three decades it had assumed a more subtle form that tied Israel’s hands. The peace accords with Egypt were nothing more than a miserable illusion that robbed us of the Sinai and its settlements. They forced Israel into recognition of the Palestinian “nation” and its right to our land, to the Madrid Conference, and finally to Oslo – the loss of Gush Katif, and Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Throughout this process, thousands of Israelis paid the price of mushrooming terror and Israel lost its oil fields and major financial resources. Now, when the direct conflict begins, it will happen just outside of Beersheba and not on the banks of the Suez Canal, as was the case in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Who is responsible for this fiasco? Menachem Begin is at the top of the pyramid. But the pyramid rests on layers of officials that developed political, media, academic, legal, military, and, of course, economic careers from Camp David, Madrid, Oslo and the entire Orwellian “peace process.”

Where are all the experts and advisers who day in and day out pressured Israel to give the Golan Heights to the Syrians immediately? Where is Ron Lauder, who mediated between Israel and Syria in Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous government? Where are all the journalists, commentators and Middle East analysts? Do any of them feel the need to apologize and admit his or her mistakes? Do any of them have the courage to say that it is a good thing that Israel did not succumb to their demands and didn’t repeat the mistake they made with Egypt?

Let us say that a bank robber escapes from the bank with a sack of money over his shoulder. Passersby identify him and shout, “Catch the bank robber!” Chances are that he will be caught within a short time.

But now let us change the scenario. It is not the robber making his quick escape from the bank, but the bankers. Instead of running away, they distribute the money from the sacks to the passersby. Is anybody going to shout, “Catch the bank robber?” Ben-Eliezer gleaned invaluable benefit from the “peace spoils.” His friendship with ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak afforded him great prestige and was his main calling card. Like Ben-Eliezer, major layers of Israeli society basked in the glow of the so-called peace process and enjoyed its abundant and multifaceted perks. Only “nut cases” (the left’s term) opposed the accords and did not partake of its spoils.

The peace process representatives have nothing to worry about. Nobody is going to demand that they pay for robbing Sinai, Gaza and parts of Samaria from Israel. They have distributed so many dividends to such wide circles of society that everyone has enjoyed the spoils of the robbery.

The relatively few sane people who remain have nowhere to turn to demand justice. As long as those responsible for the scandal remain in the government and in influential positions, nothing will change. They will never admit their mistakes, they will never take responsibility, and they will continue to push the State of Israel over the cliff – employing the same principles that they have so successfully used in the past.

The peace process fiasco is the product of governments from both left and right. The Likud is no less responsible for the bizarre situation in Israel than Labor and Kadima. Both the left and right wings of Zionism are incapable of getting on a track other than the “peace” track, because they cannot define a destiny worth dying for. For if Israel is nothing more than a “safe haven” for the Jews, then the Zionist experiment has utterly failed. In no other place on the globe are Jews targeted by tens of thousands of terrorist rockets, waiting for the nuclear salvo that is supposed to pick up where the missiles left off.

Manhigut Yehudit is changing the situation from the foundation up. Our candidacy for leadership of the Likud is the way to break out of the “peace process” trap. Our Jewish destiny is the only factor that makes Israel’s existence values-based, something worth fighting for – and not just surrendering for.

Moshe Feiglin

Score Another Victory For Israel’s Radical Left

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Bank Leumi, the National Bank of Israel, initiated a campaign, called Two Million Good Reasons, aimed at rewarding Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with funding for their efforts on behalf of the good of society.

One hundred forty NGOs entered the contest, uploading videos to YouTube showcasing their volunteer work in an effort to amass the greatest amount of votes. Based on public support, the bank would distribute two million shekels ($540,000) between the sixty leading organizations.

Upon witnessing the widespread success of Im Tirtzu in the competition, the radical left in Israel vehemently lashed out against Bank Leumi for consenting to the movement’s participation. Members of Peace Now threatened to start a boycott and close their accounts at Bank Leumi unless Im Tirtzu were disqualified.

Despite accusations from radical leftists that Im Tirtzu has political affiliations, their real grievance stems from the fact that they are unable to tolerate views or beliefs that differ from their own. In fact, Bank Leumi initially announced that the mission of Im Tirtzu coincides, completely, with the guidelines of the competition. Moreover, one of the guiding principles of the competition was to promote Zionism. It was only after the bank found itself in the midst of a barrage of negative PR that is issued a statement closing down the contest.

Im Tirtzu prides itself on providing a voice that is diametrically opposed to the anti-Zionist and post-Zionist sentiments prevalent in today’s public discourse. At the same time, it prides itself on remaining apolitical, not affiliated with any political party or group. In fact, Im Tirtzu continues to receive support from across the political spectrum.

As an institution dedicated to the people of Israel and land of Israel, Im Tirtzu spends its time, energy and funding on programming and activities designed to assist, inspire and contribute to all walks of Jewish life. We promote Zionism on university campuses, help new immigrants with their absorption into Israeli society, support students in need of assistance, visit and support Holocaust survivors, work with farmers in the Negev and Galilee, volunteer in Sderot, help minorities acclimate to Israeli society, support soldiers, plant forests and stand firmly against anarchist demonstrations.

The objections to Im Tirtzu’s pro-Israel activities and advocacy come from many of those on the radical left who accept funding from foreign governments and impede, inhibit and undermine the sovereignty and democracy of the country.

Clearly, the thought of Im Tirtzu emerging victorious from this competition, with the support of the public, is something they simply could not bear.

Unfortunately, Bank Leumi succumbed to ugly left-wing threats. Im Tirtzu was in first place as the most popular non-profit organization when the bank decided to stop the project.

Thanks to its unrelenting efforts, Peace Now had its way with Bank Leumi. But this is hardly about one group or one competition. The leaders of Peace Now consider it legitimate to accept funding from foreign countries. By doing so, they undermine Israeli democracy. Not only do they silence the values of Zionism and nationalism, they undermine organizations that seek to improve the lives of sick children, Holocaust survivors, victims of cancer and so many other people in need.

Ronen Shoval is founder and chairman of Im Tirtzu.

Ronen Shoval

Why Don’t Israelis Revolt?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The Middle East is ablaze with political revolution. Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria – the list of countries keeps growing. All is quiet, however, on the Israeli front. The question is: Why?

For 20 years, millions of Israelis have opposed “land for peace.” In 1996 they voted for Benjamin Netanyahu assuming he would abandon the policy; in 2001, they voted for Ariel Sharon for the same reason. But to no end. In the name of “peace,” one prime minister after another has continued shoving left-wing policies down the population’s collective throat.

And yet there is no peace. Terror? Yes. Shame? Yes. But certainly no peace.

Astonishingly, though, Israel’s leaders refuse to let go of their “land for peace” chimera. Netanyahu entrances many Jews with masterful speeches before Congress and the UN, but the fact is that he – just as much as President Obama – envisions a judenrein Palestinian state in most of the West Bank in the near future. This is the bitter truth and anyone who is honest with himself knows it.

Why, then, do Israelis tolerate it? What normal nation would continue to live under a government committed to surrendering the heartland of the country to its sworn enemy? What normal nation would continue to live under a government that has let 10,000 – 10,000! – rockets rain down on its cities in the past few years? What normal nation would sit passively as its government released 1,000 terrorists in exchange for one soldier?

Sure, Israelis protest. Some of them are currently protesting social and economic inequality, and for years some of them have protested ceding land to the Arabs. But peaceful protests in Israel generally accomplish nothing. Roughly three percent of Israel’s population – 200,000 Israelis – protested the Gaza Disengagement in 2005. Three percent of America’s population amounts to nine million people. Can you imagine what a nine-million man march on Washington would achieve? In Israel, its equivalent made no impression.

Despite their political failures, many right-wing Israelis declare, “It will be good,” and go on with their business. But as Rabbi Meir Kahane used to say, “It will not be good unless we make it good.”

Some Jews, based on their reading of certain biblical prophecies, believe Israel will survive forever – no matter what. But many Jews believed the Gaza Disengagement would never, for theological reasons, come to pass. Look where that belief got them.

Besides, is mere survival sufficient? Do Israelis really want to live in a country without the Temple Mount and the West Bank, which will almost certainly belong to the Arabs in a few decades’ time if current trends continue? Do they really want to live in a country where terrorism is accepted as an inevitable part of daily life – much like sunrise and sunset? Do they really want to live in a country that takes a structure like beautiful, modest Kever Rachel and converts it into a fortress?

Many Jews argue that revolt is unthinkable. But is it? Earlier this year, leftist columnist Merav Michaeli penned an article in Haaretz titled “Why There’s No Revolution in Israel” in which she argued that leftists are “yearning for a revolution.” Right-wing Israelis typically condemn radical leftists. But instead of denouncing them, why not appropriate their tactics and radicalism for their own ends?

When in Jewish history have Jews shied away from rising up in righteous wrath when the hour called for it? The Bible records many such incidents (see Joshua 22 and Judges 20 for just two examples), and the Chanukah saga began when Matityahu, the father of Judah the Maccabee, murdered a Jewish Hellenist in cold blood.

Elliot Resnick

Skewing The Shalit Deal, New York Times-Style

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I’ve been reading The New York Times pretty much every single day since I was ten years old. That’s more than a half-century by now.

Along the way, I’ve been informed, inspired, and occasionally infuriated.

Last week, there were several causes for infuriation.

The first came on Monday, in the form of four photographs that appeared on the first page of the International section.

The largest of the four, 6 x 9 inches, was at the top of the page and immediately caught the reader’s attention. It was a poignant picture of a little girl leaning against a largely empty wall and staring upward, as the caption explained, to a small picture of her grandfather.

Walid Aqel, 48, was to be among those Palestinian prisoners released in the exchange for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.

The paper failed to mention, in the caption or elsewhere, that Aqel was a founder of Hamas’s military wing, had much Israeli blood on his hands, and was sentenced by Israel to life imprisonment.

Instead, the overriding impression conveyed was that Aqel was, above all, a grandfather, whose adorable granddaughter was pining for his return from his Israeli captors.

Then, just below the photo was the article itself – “Israel Names 477 to Go Free in Trade for Hamas-Held Soldier.” And beneath the article were three small photos, each measuring 2 x 3 inches, which conveyed images of the human havoc wreaked in Israel by some of those Palestinians to be released in the deal.

Because of their diminutive size and busy images, those photos didn’t draw the eye easily, though they should have been the heart of the story. After all, they conveyed the nature of the terrorists to be freed, helping readers understand how gut-wrenching the decision must have been for Israel.

Yet those photos, together totaling 18 square inches, were submerged, while the single, stark photo at the top, 54 square inches, dominated.

Then came a Times editorial, “Gilad Shalit’s Release,” on Wednesday. It was among the most upsetting I’ve ever read.

The day after Shalit was returned to Israel, with 477 Palestinian prisoners sent to Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere, and a second group to be freed soon, the paper chose to go after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yet again.

He’s been a favorite whipping boy for the editorial writers since he assumed office in 2009.

They give him little credit for what he’s done to advance prospects for peace and Palestinian development – the ten-month settlement freeze, the lifting of blockades and checkpoints on the West Bank, oft-expressed support for a two-state outcome, and help for the rising Palestinian economy. And they spare no criticism for his alleged misdeeds.

But this editorial took the cake, darkly suggesting the Shalit deal was really a Machiavellian plot to further weaken chances for peace — and the blame, predictably, was laid at Netanyahu’s doorstep.

Of course, the editorial could have gone in other directions.

It might have dwelled on the extraordinary importance Israel attaches to human life, in this case the life of one soldier. It could have focused on the nature of Israeli democracy, where Gilad Shalit’s parents never stopped mobilizing on behalf of their son, and created a national movement to liberate him, irrespective of the cost.

It might have reminded the world of the contrast between Shalit’s captivity – more than five years without a single visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, much less his family – and that of the Palestinian prisoners, none of whom surely would have wished to trade their diet, access to the outside world and, indeed, to sunlight, or opportunities for education with what Shalit endured.

David A. Harris

It’s My Opinion: Asleep On The Watch

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The alarm of a South Beach bank recently went off in the early morning hours. Police arriving at the scene were greeted by an unusual sight. The alleged lookout man was in the parking lot of the bank building. He had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car.

 

          Two men were in the bank. The trio was arrested. Obviously, the watchman had failed in his task.

 

          The idea of a watchman is an important concept in Judaism. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of appointing a tzofeh (watchman) who would blow a shofar and warn the people “when he would see the sword come upon the land.” Ezekiel’s efforts, however, were met with disdain. Even 2,500 years ago, the House of Israel did “not wish to hear.” Unfortunately, this precedent seems to be a reoccurring theme. The Jewish people really don’t want to hear bad news. Starting in ancient days and going to present times, this has been our pattern.

 

The Tanach is beset with stories of how the Jews of early days ignored those who tried to warn them. In modern times, Ze’ev Jabotinsky was spat on and Rabbi Meir Kahane vilified. The idea of “killing the messenger” (or his message) apparently never diminished as a way to deal with unpleasantness.

 

Today the Jewish people are experiencing extremely precarious times, not only in Israel, but throughout the entire world. People are frightened and frustrated. Anti-Semitism is rampant. Angry individuals often seek a scapegoat. Historically, that scapegoat has repeatedly been the Jews.

 

The Jewish world seems strangely silent. Where is the Jewish leadership? The job of the tzofeh stays in place, the people must be warned of danger. The obligation stands. The shofar must be sounded. We dare not be asleep on the watch.

Shelley Benveniste

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/its-my-opinion-asleep-on-the-watch/2010/10/20/

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