Marc Schulman


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December 19, 2013-Dankner Family Downfall- How Do We Treat Refugees?

This has not been a good week for the extended Dankner family. First, on Tuesday the court decided provisionally to remove Nochi Dankner from control of IDB Holdings (a company through which he directed a number of the most important companies in the country– including Supersol, Cellcom, and Clal insurance. The judge agreed, along with a committee of the creditors, to turn the company over to an outside– and relatively unknown investor– instead of accepting the investor the Dankner brought to the table. To explain the whole chapter would require a much longer article. However, suffice it to say that Dankner controlled a pyramid, that was doing well before the financial crisis. As a result of some poor investments, the company seems unable to repay all of the bonds it issued. Removing Dankner is an unprecedented step. Ultimately we are still left with a series of unrelated companies, being controlled by a different group of people with relatively little of their own money or sweat equity at risk. Though, again, that is for a different article.

The second part of the family tragedy took place today. Dani Dankner, (Nochi's cousin, who had headed Bank Hapolim), was sentenced to 1 year in prison for not disclosing his personal interest in a number of the bank's transactions. This is somewhat like what Foreign Minister Lieberman was accused of doing. While the two Danker’s fate so far are very different, they both come from what would be called the "Crony capitalistic part of the Israeli economy", achieving their wealth from connections and not from high-tech or any other form of production. The Dankner drama will surely not be the end of crony capitalism in Israel. However, after this week, it may never be quite the same again.

Two Palestinians have been killed in the last day. Both died in cases where Israeli forces entered Palestinians towns or refugee camps to make an arrest and were met with armed resistance. Both instances took place in what is defined as "Area A", (where the Palestinian are suppose to have full control.) Before the second Intifadah we did not enter those areas at all. Since the second Intifadah our forces routinely do so. It’s a difficult trade-off. There can be no question that these IDF actions have prevented some terrorist activity. On the other hand, there is no action we take that creates greater resentment than our army entering Palestinian areas on a nightly basis to make arrests. I think this is a question that needs a careful reexamination to analyze the costs and benefits.

Finally, two days ago, some of the African immigrants (who have been forcibly placed in detention centers) marched to Jerusalem to protest they were arrested and forcibly removed. According the Prime Minister, the law has to be enforced. However, the law that was being enforced was a law that was rushedly passed by the Knesset (when the earlier version of that law was invalidated by the Supreme Court.) There is little doubt that this law will also be found null and void. Furthermore, when this chapter of history is written, future historians will cringe and ask how the Jewish people could treat refugees the way we have been treated here and now. Especially now that the flow of refugees has stopped.


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