For the second time in the last month and a half, the Foreign Ministry on Friday
summoned the Dutch ambassador to protest against a large Dutch company’s
decision to sever ties with Israel.
Raffi Schutz, the ministry’s deputy
director-general for European affairs, told the ambassador that the decision of
PGGM pension fund to divest from Israel is unacceptable and relies on false
Schutz told Ambassador Caspar Velkamp that Israel expected the
Dutch government, in “the spirit of friendship between our countries, to take an
unequivocal stance against such steps, which only wreak damage to the relations
between Israel and the Netherlands.”
The PGGM company announced its
decision to divest on its website on Wednesday from Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi,
First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot
PGGM is among the Netherlands’ largest pension fund managers, with
assets in excess of €153 billion ($210b.). Its dealing with Israeli banks
amounts to tens of millions of euros, according to Haaretz.
It is the
latest in a string of large Dutch companies that have cut off ties with Israeli
Last month, Dutch water giant Vitens canceled cooperation with
Israel’s water corporation Mekorot because of alleged infractions of
In August, another Dutch firm, the Royal HaskoningDHV
engineering company, canceled its participation in building a sewage treatment
plant because it was across the Green Line.