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      Israeli Bank, Owned by Europeans, Cuts Off Yesha

      Dexia Bank, owned by a European parent company, ordered a ban on credit to councils in Judea and Samaria and wants accounts closed.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 12/30/2009, 10:53 AM / Last Update: 12/30/2009, 10:58 AM

      Flash 90

      The parent bank of Dexia Bank, owned by French and Belgian interests, has notified regional councils in Judea and Samaria it is cutting off their line of credit. The Dexia Bank in Israel denies accusations that the decision was based on poliitcal considerations.

      The Israeli bank, which is the official supplier of credit to the regional councils, asked them to close their accounts. The parent bank's French officials ordered the move, which has left leaders in Judea and Samaria in shock.

      The Dexia Group in 2001 bought the Israeli Municipality Treasure Bank and established Dexia Israel.  

      Local officials of the bank denied charges that pro-Arab groups, who have escalated a campaign to boycott products of Judea and Samaria, pressured the financial institution. Dexia signed an agreement with the Finance Ministry this past summer to set up a $70 million line of credit (NIS 274 million) for improving the financial structure of the councils.

      Earlier this year, Dexia announced it will not finance communities in Judea and Samaria following a campaign against it that “Israel colonizes, Dexia finances.” Its shareholders raised the issue of Judea and Samaria at the company annual meeting in Brussels last March.

      The bank’s chairman responded that it stopped financing the Jewish communities a year ago, and one regional council chairman in Judea confirmed to Israel National News that it has not received credit for several months.

      Dexia has rejected anti-Israel groups’ demands to stop lending money to Jerusalem, which has sovereignty over parts of the capital that the Palestinian Authority demands as part of the future state it wants to establish.

      Shmuel Rifman, chairman of the Ramat HaNegev council, which is not in Judea or Samaria, and head of the board of local councils in Israel, urged Wednesday that all regional councils in the country boycott Dexia in retaliation.

      “The government sold its part of the bank to foreigners…who are afraid of the Arab world,” he stated. “I suggest a boycott against the bank because there are enough [other] banks in Israel where we can put our money.”

      Israel National News apologies for a previous and erroneous reference to Bank Discount, which has no relation to Dexia Bank.