Leading Israeli Bank Won’t Extend Credit to Businesses That Discriminate Against Clients

Following the growing attempts by far-right lawmakers to legalize religious and gender discrimination in the business sector, Israel Discount Bank Chairman Shaul Kobrinsky said that the bank will 'make official what we take for granted'

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Assa Sasson
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Discount Bank branch in Tel Aviv, earlier this year.
Discount Bank branch in Tel Aviv, earlier this year.Credit: Eyal Toueg
assa sasson
Assa Sasson

Israel Discount Bank has taken a stand against the right-wing attempt to permit discrimination in the business sector. The bank announced on Monday that its board voted to change its policy: it will not extend credit to a business or other client that discriminates against customers on the basis of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.

Last week, Likud and Religious Zionism agreed that private businesses would have the right to refuse service or sell a product based on the seller’s religious faith, as long as the service or product “is not unique and an equivalent is available nearby for a similar price.”

Two weeks ago, several Religious Zionism lawmakers submitted a bill to amend the anti-discrimination law, exempting refusal to serve customers “if it’s done in the name of preventing harm to the religious faith of the businessman or the religious faith of some of his customers.”

In the wake of the bill, Religious Zionism lawmaker Orit Strock said on Sunday in an interview to Israeli public radio Kan, that a doctor shouldn't be forced to provide treatment that contradicts his religious faith. “As long as there are doctors who can provide the same service.” Strock colleague, MK Simcha Rothman, said that the bill’s goal was that “when a religious reason prevents a vendor from giving service to someone, it'll be permitted for him not to provide service.”

Shaul Kobrinsky, Chairman at Israel Discount Bank.Credit: Rami Zarnegar

Shaul Kobrinsky, chairman of the board of Israel Discount Bank, commented: “We found it proper to amend the bank’s credit policy, making official what we take for granted. According to the policy, Discount will not extend credit to businesses or to bodies that discriminate against customers in Israel. This is our obligation and responsibility as a major business in the Israeli economy.”

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