posted on Dec, 8 2004 @ 12:11 AM
By Jonathan Cook in Jerusalem
Tuesday 07 December 2004, 16:48 Makka Time, 13:48 GMT
Investigations by the Israeli
parliament have dug up disturbing evidence that Israel has been profiting for decades from vast sums invested in local banks by European Jews who died
in the Nazi death camps.
And even now the banks are delaying returning the money to their heirs.
But unlike a similar scandal that hit European banks in the mid-90s, almost no pressure is being brought to bear on the Israeli banks by the Israeli
government or by Jewish reparation organisations representing Holocaust families, who were the main critics of the European banks.
The Israeli government is believed to be keeping quiet because it is deeply involved in the local banking scandal itself, and the Jewish organisations
are reported to be concerned that exposure of the story will damage Israel's international reputation.
Instead the Knesset committee which unearthed the shocking revelations has been forced to sit on its unpublished report for the past 18 months as the
banks dictate terms to the inquiry, largely supported by the government.
One dissenting voice has been Tommy Lapid, who this month left his post as justice minister. He called Bank Leumi, the bank believed to hold the
lion's share of the Holocaust accounts, "the last bank in the world that refuses to pay money to Shoah survivors".