The Final Straight of the Concentration Bill

By: Ariel Oseran, Mqg’s Blog

The 15/12/13 is going to be an historic date!

Not because we will be remembering 62 years to the conviction of Adolf Eichmann in the Jerusalem District Court, and not because Hopel “Migdal” Jerusalem and Maccabi “Bazan” Haifa will meet once more to contend for a place at the top of the Israeli Basketball League standings. It’s an historic date because on this date we will know whether the District Court will accept the debt settlement for IDB, which will mark the biggest corporate hijacking in Israeli history.

Our friends sitting in the Finance Committee of the Knesset are not stupid. They have managed to realize that the two currently existing proposals for the IDB debt settlement are very problematic. Both groups that are seeking to Bailout IDB already consist of multilevel systems, in which at least three of the levels are composed of public companies. Hello?!?!?!

A debt that was created by the profuse and irresponsible use of public funds, is going to be repaid with using public funds?! Can you see the absurdity?! Well, even our elected officials in the Knesset see the absurdity.

In order to deal with it, they have assured that as of the moment the bill is publicised no new multilevel companies may be established, nor the building of new levels upon existing multilevel companies. Meaning, if the Concentration Bill will be approved after the Second and Third readings and published in the Official Gazette by the 15 December, those who will purchase IDB will not be able to do so through the use of multilevel companies, as suggested in the proposals of the Granovsky-Dankner group and the Elstein-Ben Moshe group. Rather they will have to inject the money directly into the IDB.

But let’s take a moment and take a deeper look a what actually is occurring in the Finance Committee. As noted in the article by Ido Baum in “The Marker”, most of the members in the committee, including the chairman of the committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (The Jewish Home), and the Mks who initially advanced the amendment for the Concentration Bill, MKs Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), Gila Gamliel (Likud Beiteinu) and Erel Margalit (Labor), “have been demonstrating remarkable efficacy” during the discussions regarding the Concentration Bill. However, during these discussions, as reported by Zvi Zrahiya in “The Marker”, one of the committee members, MK Yaakov Litzmann (United Torah Judaism) questioned why the Bill is currently being discussed as the IDB settlement is being discussed in court. Litzmann further claimed that “The discussion does not look good and I feel like there’s something else behind it.”

And as a matter of fact, “behind”, or rather outside the doors of the meeting hall of the Finance Committee, was wandering Zalman Wolf, a Chabad Hasid who has been strolling the halls of the Knesset for decades. Wolf’s brother, Abraham Wolf, the Rabbi of the Jewish community in Odessa, who one its sponsors is its Granovsky (who as we all know proposed along with Dankner one of the proposals for the debt settlement). Upon being asked regarding his presence in the Knesset, Wolf replied that he is there “on matters regarding Chabad in the Knesset and not regarding IDB”.

And if that isn’t enough, different lobbyists attending the discussions and attempted to pressure the Mks of the committee into allowing the building of multilevel companies atop IDB. In one event, that was reported by “The Marker”, one of Granovsky’s lobbyists was spotted passing a note to one of the Mks in the committee .

And so, all we can do now is hope that the Knesset will hasten its steps and pass the Bill as soon as possible. A Bill that has been on topic for the past three years, mind you, and would otherwise have us see our pension funds once more in the hands of the country’s wealthiest. Perhaps it is also possible to hope that Judge Orenstein will understand that with all his concern for the creditors, he will not allow a hijacking that at the end of the day will hurt the entire public.

Only time will tell whether maybe this time it is the public that will have the last laugh.

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