The New York Times had a cover story yesterday about the laxness of Israeli banks in compensating Holocaust victims who had assets locked away and who should have received compensation for those funds. A Knesset committee has been looking into the matter and their findings are…sad, to be polite.
“What we have discovered, in particular the attitude of the banks, has filled us with disgust,” said the chairwoman of a parliamentary committee, Colette Avital, a Labor Party legislator.
“Neither the state nor the banks paid enough attention to this problem,” Ms. Avital said. “We don’t think the state of Israel should act differently from what we’ve demanded from other countries.”
It turns out that about $31.5 million is owed to 9000 individuals or their heirs and the banks have been, unintentionally, very disorganized and delinquent in paying restitution for these accounts. Considering the international pressure the WJC, Israel and the US applied to the Swiss for restitution of funds in their accounts, this is definitely a black eye for Israel and its banks.