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The fight over distribution charges climbed a few more rungs yesterday, and is nearly overshadowing the distribution charges themselves.

The banks sent the brokers an open letter via the media, approved by the management of Bank Leumi, headed by Galia Maor, and the management of Bank Hapoalim, headed by Zvi Ziv:

"You have adopted parasitic modes of behavior that makes absolutely no economic sense, according to which you seek to use for free a sophisticated distribution network we have built over many years. As far as you are concerned the public can pay more for the services you are getting for free.

"You the brokers have proved to us over the years and especially over the past few weeks that there is such a thing as a free lunch. And not only is there a free lunch, one can even be impudent enough to ask for second helpings. It's not enough that the state has given you a free gift, the management of public assets while you are not regulated the way the banks are and are not answerable to the public the way the banks are. Now you want to increase the value of the gift - you will continue to enjoy the costly services provided to you for free and the public will pay the price, why should you care?

"You have adopted parasitic behavior that makes absolutely no economic sense, according to which you want to use a distribution system, an asset that does not belong to you, and was built painstakingly over many years. Your parasitic model of operation seeks to limit the distribution charges to the banks but leave the distribution system at your disposal, when it is clear to you that the price will be paid by the public and the banks.

"If you the brokers would be so kind as to finance the creation of a large independent distribution system, we will present it throughout the land, the length and breadth of it, even in the periphery. If you the brokers would be so kind as to train a host of thousands of qualified, professional and responsible employees to advise the public.

"If you the brokers would be so kind as to purchase and integrate technological networks to support the distribution system. If you the brokers would be so kind as to finance the ongoing maintenance of this system and to upgrade it for the benefit of the clients.

"But no, no and no - you will not do this because it is expensive, very expensive, and why should the broker put his hand into his pocket if the banks and public can do it instead?

"Our request is clear, transparent and based upon business logic - to fix the level of the charge according to the rate customary in the world, so that it may cover the high cost of the distribution system without transmitting it to the public.

"We would like to believe that sound business sense, from which the public will be the main beneficiary, is what will triumph, and not the parasitic model that you are asking the state to adopt on your behalf!"