The Government Pension Fund of Norway, one of the largest funds in the world, has decided to stop investing in Israel, Channel 12 News reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the fund announced that it decided to conduct a probe of the entire Israeli banking system, in order to make sure that the money it transfers to Israeli companies operating in Judea and Samaria will not be used for investments.
The Government Pension Fund of Norway manages more than $1.3 trillion in assets, collects all of Norway's excess investments and invests around the world. The decision to stop investing in Israel began to be discussed already last year, but gained momentum in recent weeks.
An Israeli source with knowledge of the details said that, although the process began before the elections in Israel, the nature of the new government certainly plays a role.
"Our attempts to persuade the fund to back down from this action will have difficulty succeeding, in the face of the government's stated policy regarding the territories [of Judea and Samaria]," said the Israeli source. The Norwegian decision also came about following the blacklist of companies operating in Judea and Samaria published by the UN Human Rights Commission, which included 112 companies, including banks.
The Government Pension Fund of Norway is conditioning the continuation of its investments on the fact that those blacklisted banks will stop transferring funds to companies operating in Judea and Samaria.
The banks say in response, "There is no difference between what happens inside the Green Line and outside it."
Israel is trying to stop the decision in every which way, and has tried to keep the Norwegian move under the radar. Last June, Prime Minister Yair Lapid refused to meet the Foreign Minister of Norway, who had already stated that she would label products from Judea and Samaria. The fear in Israel is that if the decision goes ahead, it will snowball and more companies and international bodies will stop investing in Israel.
The Foreign Ministry said in response, "This serious issue is recognized and being dealt with."