Israeli Anger Builds Over Sweetheart Deal for 'Jewish Oligarch' Nochi Dankner

Public Demands Action To Curb Power of Super-Rich

Sweetheart Deal: Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner was once a darling of high society. Now he is dealing with a wave of public anger over a sweetheart deal.
getty images
Sweetheart Deal: Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner was once a darling of high society. Now he is dealing with a wave of public anger over a sweetheart deal.

By Reuters

Published May 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

He was once celebrated for his vast fortune and daring deals, but when Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner was about to catch a break from the bank on his massive debts, public outrage kicked in.

Under a cascade of negative media attention, Bank Leumi , Israel’s second largest bank, abruptly cancelled its plans to forego 150 million shekels ($42 million) - a third of the debt owed by Dankner’s Ganden Investments.

After first defending the deal as the best it was likely to get from Dankner, Leumi suddenly announced it had revoked the offer because it concluded that another businessman was going to call off an investment in Dankner’s company.

Leumi’s announcement included a nod to public opinion: CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach “stressed that the bank is responsive to the hearts of the public and respects them,” it said.

The reversal was widely perceived as a sign of change in Israel, where heat is still on from a summer of mass street protests two years ago against the high cost of living.

In an election last January, middle-class dissatisfaction helped to propel political newcomers promoting economic and social reform to key positions in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government.

The shift in tone and voter sentiment is dramatic in a country with one of the highest concentrations of corporate power in the developed world and a skyline of towers in business capital Tel Aviv housing the ultra-rich.

Stung by an unexpectedly weak showing for his party in the ballot, Netanyahu is now vowing to crack down on “monopolies and cartels that prevent competition and thwart price-lowering”.

“It seems things are going to change,” said Daniel Doron head of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress. “For the first time in years, Israelis voted on economic issues, not security and there are now people who want to make changes.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.