Norway Drops Israeli Companies From Pension Fund Over East Jerusalem Construction

Foreign ministry puts Africa Israel and Danya Cebus in penalty box for contributing to 'serious violations of individual rights' in E. Jerusalem.

The Norwegian Ministry of Finance announced Thursday that it has decided to exclude Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from its Government Pension Fund Global.

According to the announcement, the Ministry of Finance received a recommendation on November 1 from the Council of Ethics to exclude the two companies from the fund "due to contribution to serious violations of individual rights in war or conflict through the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem,"

The fund excluded the companies from August 2010 to August 2013 for similar reasons. "The Ministry of Finance has decided to follow the Council's recommendation," the ministry stated.

The vast fund, which invests the Nordic nation’s oil and gas wealth in foreign stocks and bonds to save for future generations, holds more than 1 percent of all global stocks. It owned shares worth 7.2 million Norwegian crowns (‏$1.16 million) in Africa Israel Investments at year-end 2009.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a meeting with her in Davos last week that the government in Oslo had become more balanced in its relations with Israel since the latest election. Netanyahu also said, according to the Norwegian press, that his son Yair was dating a young Norwegian woman he met in Israel. The Prime Minister's Office has since reportedly denied that Netanyahu's son is dating the woman.

The Netherlands' largest pension fund management company decided earlier in January to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements.

Emil Salman / Jini