Strike tarnishes country's image

Paralysis of operations at the Bank of Israel have left a stain on the country's image, but the damage could have been worse.

By SHARON WROBEL
March 15, 2007 21:51
1 minute read.
bank of israel 88 298

bank of israel 88 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Strike actions this week that paralyzed operations at the Bank of Israel have left a stain on the country's image but the damage could have been worse. "This is not positive for the image of Israel, but the strike action by the Bank of Israel and the threat of the closure of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange were overshadowed by investors' concerns over the volatility in the global markets," said Richard Gussow, senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah. "Foreign investors might have raised an eyebrow this week, but since it was a relatively short period of paralysis investors were more concerned about what was happening in global markets." For three days, Bank of Israel workers stopped processing foreign-currency deposits; there was no clearing on the financial side of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trades, and funds weren't transferred to banks for the filling of automatic teller machines. Given the situation, the bourse warned Wednesday night that it would have to close the exchange on Sunday if the wage dispute was not resolved and workers were not back at work. "It was no coincidence that the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange waited until Sunday given that it is a day with lower activity in particular from foreign investors," said Gussow. "At the end of the day, the threat of the closure of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange put much pressure on reaching some form of agreement on the wage dispute and putting a halt on the strike action."

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