Leumi to be sued over Holocaust restitution funds

Body files claim for approximately NIS 300 million in 4,000 accounts.

LEUMI generic 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
LEUMI generic 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Holocaust Victims Assets Restitution company announced the appointment of Zvi Kanor as its director-general last week, who is to lead attempts to identify Israeli Holocaust victims' assets and transferring them to the victims' descendants and needy survivors. A former senior air force officer and combat pilot with 17 years of management experience, Kanor will replace former company CEO Ishai Amarmi, who completed his term three months ago. Kanor was selected by the company's board of directors and approved by its appointing committee, headed by retired judge Yitzhak Raviv. The appointment comes amid the company's struggle with Bank Leumi, which has controlled the Holocaust victims' assets since World War II. The company filed a legal claim for a total of approximately NIS 300 million in some 4,000 accounts, after the bank refused to recognize the existence of the funds. The company has demanded that the money be returned to the victims' descendants, but to no avail. Company chairman Menahem Ariav welcomed Kanor, saying he was entering the position during the most critical time for the company. Ariav added that he was convinced Kanor's professional experience would contribute to the success of the struggle against Bank Leumi, helping to regain the property of thousands of Jews who perished in the Holocaust, after decades of neglect regarding the assets. Kanor said at the ceremony that he considered his position very important to the mission. "The tasks the company needs to meet are not simple, but we are determined to complete this historic task," he said. "I intend to act, first and foremost, to transfer all assets in the hands of the company to the victims' descendants to assist the Holocaust survivors, even if it requires legislative amendments and management struggles... and to significantly expand the company's operations and budget information to locate properties that exist in Israel."