“You can't leave repatriates without a livelihood and blame them for leaving”

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A recent study by The Reboot Startup Nation found that 61% of the 70,000 repatriates who arrived from Russia and Ukraine in 2022 had difficulty transferring money to Israel. 37% were unable to open a bank account, 93% were denied a particular service without a written explanation. Sociologist Sofia Topolev-Luz notes that 60% of the last wave of repatriates – of working age.

As a result of an appeal by the Legal Assistance Center for Repatriates under the leadership of Deputy Mayor of Ashdod Eli Nakht, the Bank of Israel published requirements for commercial banks to streamline the work with the accounts of new repatriates of the last wave from Russia and Ukraine . The new order concerns, among other things, the transfer of money from abroad.

“A bank branch is not a separate state with its own laws, and it cannot refuse to accept money because of Russia without explanation and at its own discretion,” lawyer Eli Nacht said. He added that it is impossible to mock the returnees with unjustified financial restrictions, leave people without a livelihood, and then accuse them of leaving Israel.

This week Yair Avidan, the bank controller, sent a special letter to the heads of banks and demanded that they be more sensitive to the appeals of repatriates who have recently arrived from Russia and Ukraine. According to Avidan, the sanctions imposed on Russian financial institutions, of course, have implications for the banking system, but Israeli banks must develop clear rules for new repatriates. Requests to open an account and transfer money must be granted, and in cases where the bank refuses to provide certain services, the reasons for the refusal must be explained.

who express concern about the indifferent attitude of banks towards new repatriates. In this regard, I appeal to the leaders with a request to take care of providing the necessary information in Russian and Ukrainian, as well as to develop rules for opening an account and transferring money, which will oblige all branches of a particular bank,” Yair Avidan said.

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