Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Tammuz 5768 - July 24, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Bank Forced to Return Yeshiva Money Delayed Wrongfully

By Yechiel Sever

Following an extreme incident that Betzedek handled successfully, the legal rights organization is alerting heads of institutions of possible delays in contributions arriving from abroad.

Numerous institutions have been experiencing delays regarding funds sent from abroad, but very few are prepared to tangle with banks here in Israel, which cite various pretexts for the delays.

Every month the Friends association of a certain, very distinguished yeshiva here in Israel transfers funds from donations raised abroad directly to the yeshiva's account at a major bank, which should take no more than one business day. Recently the Friends of the yeshiva in the US sent donations to the yeshiva, but the money was not credited to the yeshiva's account for several days.

When the roshei yeshiva contacted the bank they were in for a real surprise: the clerks revealed that the funds had been held up because the money was said to have been transferred to Israel through a terror organization. The bank clerks refused to provide further details, claiming that the law prohibited them from sharing the information.

The baffled roshei yeshiva turned to Betzedek. Director Rabbi Mordechai Green contacted the Authority for the Prevention of Money-Laundering at the Justice Ministry as well as the police, but both denied having issued any directive to stop the transfer, and had not even received any report from the bank in question regarding the yeshiva.

Betzedek then wrote a letter to the bank management demanding that the money, which was earmarked for paying the stipends of the avreichim, be returned immediately. In the letter he noted that the bank is solely responsible for withholding the money and therefore may be liable for the losses and damages incurred through the illegal delay of the contributions.

In response, and following evasive efforts, the bank management decided to credit the yeshiva's account and even offered compensation for the exchange rate difference between the time the money arrived from abroad and the time it was eventually converted into shekels.

After conducting an inquiry Betzedek notes that unfortunately this is a widespread ploy and institute heads should react immediately to any illogical delay in transferring money from abroad.


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