Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli lawmaker Amit Halevi (Likud) summoned an urgent meeting of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday to explore ways Jerusalem can come to the aid of citizens who face international sanctions.

On Feb 1., U.S. President Joe Biden issued an open-ended executive order sanctioning “persons undermining peace, security and stability” in Judea and Samaria, citing “high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages and property destruction.”


The White House named four Israelis as the targets of sanctions: Yinon Levi of Meitarim Farm; David Chai Chasdai of Givat Ronen; Einan Tanjil of Kiryat Ekron; and Shalom Zicherman of Mitzpe Yair.

Biden’s “unacceptable” decision to levy sanctions was “not only unfriendly, but also unfair,” Halevi told JNS, noting that Israel takes “very strong—maybe more than needed” action against lawbreakers, “especially against the settlers in Judea and Samaria, unfortunately.”

Of the four, only Chasdai has ever run afoul of Israeli authorities. In 2023, he was sentenced to four months of administrative detention following his alleged participation in a riot in the Samaria town of Huwara.

However, fearing being cut off from the U.S. financial system, several Israeli banks have moved to proactively freeze the accounts of some of the sanctioned individuals, as well as their spouses.

“At the end of the day, it is a diplomatic [matter],” Tali Keisar, deputy supervisor of banks at the Bank of Israel, told lawmakers on Wednesday. “The Israeli banking system cannot be perceived as circumventing sanctions. This would harm the market and the economy.”

The committee meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the state, banks and the families harmed by the sanctions, focused on finding a solution.

“If the issue cannot be solved through political channels and if the regulator, the Bank of Israel, does not put out clear instructions, we suggest a new law. In these cases—when there are sanctions of foreign state of Israeli citizens— we must back those citizens,” said Halevi.

“Even according to the Biden presidential instruction, it’s not [required] that the Levi family, for example, should die of starvation,” he continued.


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