Tzfas Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita in his address to the Ramle Conference called for canceling the “heter iska” for banks and for Israel’s banks to follow the working model of Islamic banks. To the skeptics, Rav Eliyahu explains many warn that if the heter iska is canceled the nation’s banking system would collapse. He says this is not so, adding the Islamic banks today handle $300 billion of the world’s economy annually and they are not collapsing. He questions why a bank manager must earn $2 million annually while the very same bank is evicting a family that cannot pay its mortgage. The rav stated the Islamic banks make a living from investments and bank charges and not be oppressing people.
“We as rabbonim play a role in this and we must shot ‘enough’ and retract the heter iska. He feels senior bank officials should be hiding their heads in shame regarding their exorbitant salaries. He calls the inflated salaries “immoral” and insists they are paid on the sweat and blood of the working people. He cited that banks continue to hand out dividend checks to share holders are working families are being thrown into the streets by mortgage banks.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)