Bank Leumi settles on payout to Shoah heirs


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Bank Leumi has agreed to pay nearly $37 million to the heirs of Holocaust victims and to projects that help Israeli survivors.

The Israeli bank reached a settlement Sunday with Hashava-The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, a company started by the Israeli government in 2006.

The agreement, worked out through arbitration, falls short of Hashava’s nearly $85 million lawsuit filed against the bank in 2009 attempting to recover money deposited in more than 3,500 bank accounts in the then-Anglo-Palestine Bank before World War II by Jews who died in the Holocaust.

"Signing the agreement does not constitute any kind of recognition on the part of the bank of any of the company’s claims or demands," Bank Leumi said in a statement. "Nevertheless, out of a desire to enable assistance to Holocaust survivors in their lifetimes, the bank reached an agreement with the company, according to which, as stated in the agreement, the monies are intended for aid to Holocaust survivors as well as monetary payments to eligible heirs of victims of the Holocaust."

Hashava has asked two other Israeli banks, Mizrahi Tefahot and Mercantile, to return Holocaust victims’ money deposited with them.

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