Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar ruled yesterday that business owners who cause the public to lose money have personal responsibility for the damage they have done and for reparations. This holds true even if the losses caused were unintentional.
Chief Rabbi Issues “Groundbreaking” Ruling On Financial Fraud And Reckless Business Management
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
In what is being called a groundbreaking ruling, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar ruled yesterday that business owners who cause the public to lose money have personal responsibility for the damage they have done and for reparations, Ha'aretz reported. This holds true even if the losses caused were unintentional.
Amar specified partial defaults of the repayment of publicly held bonds, known as haircuts, as one type of damage for which business tycoons are personally responsible.
Amar’s ruling was written at the request of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel. The group reportedly hopes that it will help generate support in Knesset for a pending bill on business concentration.
“We approached the rabbi because the tycoons, beyond building ‘pyramids’ and raising the cost of living, performed ‘haircuts’ on the public’s pension funds. All this is happening because of those same pyramids and oligopolies ransacking the public’s money,” Eliad Shraga, chairman of the Movement for Quality Government, said.
Amar’s ruling also forbade tycoons who control financial institutions from investing in non-financial enterprises or cross-holdings.
“Controlling owners of public financial organizations and all who do their bidding, including bank and pension fund managers, are obligated to manage the funds deposited in their hands with integrity and honesty. They are forbidden to invest these funds in their own companies or those they manage, since they profit or benefit from doing so.…It is human nature for one to, first and foremost, look after himself. Therefore, permitting cross-holdings is in effect equivalent to placing an obstacle in the path of a blind man. For that reason, cross ownership is, for all practical purposes, forbidden. Its enjoyment is considered an offense and a crime, a very serious matter that is unacceptable,” Amar wrote.
In a press conference yesterday announcing his ruling, Amar expressed his worry for the financial security of many Israelis.
“There are working people who, despite the fact that they work, don’t manage to make a living. This is something that must be fought,” he said.
Amar also said that he backs the pending business concentration bill and had made that clear to Knesset Members.
“I support any law meant to straighten out livelihoods and promote legal conduct,” he said, noting that he had given his new ruling to Knesset members from the ruling Likud party and from the opposition Labor Party.
A 2012 report on Israeli poverty by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute reportedly found that the poverty rate for Israeli families is almost twice the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average for member countries, and the second worst among all of them.