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Top bank CEOs in Israel warn judicial overhaul crisis could harm Israeli economy

View of Bank Hapoalim branch in central Jerusalem, July 27, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The chief executive officers of the Jewish state’s two largest banks, Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim, urged the Israeli government on Friday to stop its controversial judicial overhaul plan, which has deeply divided Israeli society over the past six months.

Bank Leumi CEO Hanan Friedman warned that the judicial reform could potentially lead to irreversible damage to the Israeli economy.

"The investors we are speaking to in recent months are very concerned about the unilateral moves and their concern, and of course ours, from the divide in the nation, is causing them to stop investments and cause damage that could be irreversible and destructive to Israel's economy," Friedman said.

Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler urged the Israeli government coalition and its opposition to find a compromise and secure a broad national consensus on the highly-divisive judicial reform legislation.

"We call from here to the leaders of the state of Israel - stop, talk and reach agreements," Kotler stated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely considered the most economy-savvy premier in modern the Jewish nation's history. As finance minister in the early 2000s, Netanyahu contributed to the emergence of the Start-Up Nation, Israel's rapid development of new technology-oriented businesses, due in large part to his fiscal reforms. However, experts warn that Netanyahu now risks undermining his own economic legacy with the judicial reforms.

Earlier in July, Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron warned that the judicial reform is causing uncertainty in the Jewish state’s normally robust economy.

"I would like to say a few words about the judicial reform's impact on the economy, which has been on the public agenda over recent months. I have said several times in the past that due to the promotion of such reforms, there was an increase in the level of uncertainty in Israel’s economy, reflected in, among other things, the excess depreciation of the shekel and the underperformance of Israel’s stock market,” Yaron said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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