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Bank CEO to Netanyahu: ‘We’re already seeing small amounts being transferred abroad’

Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler on Friday warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a worrying trend that has begun in recent days, Channel 12 News reports.

  • Kotler, who took part in a meeting that Netanyahu held with senior business leaders in the Israeli economy, told the Prime Minister that the banks are seeing withdrawal of deposits from Israel to accounts abroad, by customers who think that Israel is not safe enough and it is better to take the funds elsewhere.

Kotler pointed out that these are still small amounts but this is a new trend that has started in recent days.

  • The participants at the meeting asked Netanyahu to delay the legislative procedures of the judicial reform and hold talks as soon as possible in order to reach a reform by agreement – in order to prevent what they call “major economic damage that may be caused to the economy”, the Channel 12 News report said.

Discount Bank CEO Uri Levin reportedly said, “It is impossible to ignore all the economists who express such great concern about the moves, so you must pause immediately and promote changes only with caution and broad consensus. Maybe we’re wrong and you’re right, but the price of your mistake could cause fatal damage to democracy and the economy.”

Netanyahu, for his part, told the business leaders that Justice Minister Yariv Levin expressed throughout the process a willingness to negotiate with the opposition – at the same time as legislation and without delay.

  • “So far, we have not heard any willingness from the other side to change,” claimed the Prime Minister. “Any change, even the smallest, was and remains as far as the critics are concerned – the end of democracy.”

Likud officials clarified that the expectation is that the opposition will show a willingness to agree on at least part of the reform.

  • “Negotiations are not an excuse to delay the reform,” they said, according to Channel 12.

“While the legislation is being prepared, we are ready to negotiate, this is enough time for that purpose. But in order to really have a chance of reaching something, the opposition needs to say that it agrees to at least some of the reforms, and in the meantime it does not agree to anything.”

A senior official who was present at Friday’s meeting with Netanyahu said that the atmosphere there was positive and the participants respected Netanyahu, but were not afraid to criticize him for the reform.

  • Another senior official told Channel 12 News, “It was a very good conversation. Netanyahu understands the need for dialogue and unifying the people and this is very important, this is the message that everyone conveyed to him, and he was very, very attentive, and on the other hand, everyone also agreed that a change should be made in the judicial system, which in our country has gone out of all proportion.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid responded to the reports and wrote on Twitter,

  • “More and more details are emerging from Netanyahu’s meeting with the businessmen. His report, as usual, was false. They told him that millions of dollars are already fleeing the country because of the reform and that he is leading the country to disaster.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Header: Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu seen during a vote in the plenum session at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 20, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption