Shekels Exchanged in Hamastan

The Bank of Israel has fulfilled its obligation to replace old and worn-out currency, sending over 30 million new New Israeli Shekels to Gaza.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 5:59 PM

New Israeli Shekels
New Israeli Shekels
Israel news photo

After a short delay caused by the Tisha B’Av fast, the Bank of Israel has fulfilled its obligation to replace old and worn-out currency, sending over 30 million new New Israeli Shekels to Gaza.

Hamas sources bragged that some of the money that was replaced had been counterfeit, but an Israeli banking source dismissed this claim handily. The source told The Marker that this was just “foolish Hamas boasting,” and that Bank of Israel has state-of-the-art means by which to detect counterfeit bills.

The bills were replaced at the request of banks in Gaza.

The transfer raised once again the issue of money transfers from Israel to the PA. Israel collects Value Added Tax for PA-made goods sold abroad, which it then transfers back to Fatah – the organization headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and that governs the Judea and Samaria sections of the Palestinian Authority. Israel does not transfer funds directly to Hamas-run Gaza, for fear that it will be used for terrorism – unless there is supervision and guarantees that the money will be used only to pay salaries to government workers.

Fifty million shekels were transferred earlier this week days ago, and the same amount is to be given to Gaza later this week.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel complained earlier this month to both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz about the transfers. “Giving this money clearly indicates that the Government of Israel is lending a hand to the strengthening of Hamas,” the forum wrote. “This money aids a terrorist organization that desires to destroy Israel. The money is used not only to pay salaries of Hamas employees, but mainly as cash to pay for smuggled-in goods from Egypt and possibly even weapons, returning to Israel as a boomerang in the form of rockets on Sderot, Ashkelon and nearby areas.”

The letter apparently did not work, as the money is in the midst of being transferred. The mini security-economic cabinet ministers have been briefed in detail on the closure on Gaza and Israel’s policy vis-à-vis Hamas and Gaza.



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