Sparkasse Bank in Berlin apologizes for denying account to Israeli

Last September, the Sparkassse branch in the city of Düren allowed its room to be rented to an anti-Israeli speaker who rejects the existence of Israel.

People leave the subway station at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany February 4, 2016 (photo credit: REUTERS)
People leave the subway station at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany February 4, 2016
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Berlin branch of the state-funded Sparkasse bank apologized on Monday for refusing to open an account to an Israeli citizen because of his nationality.
Constanze Stempel, a spokeswoman for the bank, wrote The Jerusalem Post that the bank "regrets and ensures that the matter was a misunderstanding. The rejection of the account did not have a political background and in no way corresponds to the policies of the Berliner Sparkasse.”
She added, “It was a regrettable mistake by a young female employee who is currently in a training program and was with the situation at that moment apparently overwhelmed. She deeply regrets the mistake.”
Ynet reported the Israeli, Yakir Avraham, sought to open an account at the bank’s Alexander square branch. He presented his Israeli passport and was told by the teller "I'm very sorry, but we cannot open up a bank account for you here. We aren't allowed to open accounts for citizens of countries under embargo,” according to Ynet.
Avraham told  Ynet "I was in shock at first. How did it get to the point that they treat us like lepers? I took my passport and left the bank.”
Last September, the Sparkassse branch in the city of Düren allowed its room to be rented to an anti-Israeli speaker who rejects the existence of Israel. Israel’s embassy in Berlin sharply criticized the bank – and various NGOs – for allowing an opponent of the existence of Israel, who has likened the Jewish state to the Third Reich, to deliver a talk in its office space titled “Jew against Zionism.”
“We regret that certain organizations provide a platform for hatred. It is important and would have been beneficial if institutions would have double-checked before allowing their resources to be used as platforms to spread hatred. Actions are being taken,” the embassy told The Jerusalem Post.