The five big banks in Israel finished the year 2006 with net profits of almost 9 billion Shekels. The net profit of Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Mizrahi-Tefahot and First International Bank of Israel grew last year by about 38% in an economy with zero inflation. It is the greatest profit in the history of the Banking Field in Israel. Two big banks in Israel even announced last week “annual return objectives of two digits”. This is the content of the message given by the vigorous bank spokesmen in an “economic” language. And how can these words be translated into Hebrew? The heads of Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank want a return on capital of more than 10% per year. Thus was written explicitly in the “strategic plan” of Bank Hapoalim for the coming five years. This year the bank wants to achieve 16% return on capital. The objectives of the heads of Discount Bank are much more modest: 12-13% each year for the coming five year. Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, much smaller than the two big ones, already achieved this year the objectives of Discount Bank. This year the Bank had a return of almost 14% on its capital (in comparison to 12% last year). The net profit that this “little” bank had last year is almost 650 million Shekels, an increase of 27% in profits compared to 2005.
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The Sewing Factory in Gaza, the Administration in Tel-Aviv, and the Owners in New York
The aim of this paper is to try to understand the Israeli industrialists’ strategy in the globalization process in the course of the recent years. The new strategy was implemented in the days of the first Intifada (the Palestinian uprising) in the late 80s. At that time voices were heard in the Association of Israeli Industrialists, the strongest organization of Israeli employers, advocating an agreement with the Palestinians which would not oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, as long as the Palestinian economic dependence on Israel is preserved.