Palestinian bank looks to open in Israel

Sunday, March 25, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The Palestinian Authority is seeking to expand into Israel through the opening of the Al-Rafah Microfinance Bank, one of its largest financial institutions. If the PA-run bank manages to open it would be one of the first Arab banks to open in the Jewish state.

The bank's shareholders appointed Eitan Liraz as their lawyer to represent the bank in Israel and lead it into the Israeli capital market.

The Al-Rafah Microfinance group was established nearly a year-and-a-half ago with equity capital of some $30 million. The bank is traded on the Palestinian stock exchange.

Liraz is currently negotiating with Israeli banks that may be interested in cooperation with the Palestinian institution. Eventually, al-Rafah Microfinance hopes to open its own branches in the country and operate independently.

Liraz is also holding talks with representatives of the Bank of Israel to obtain the necessary permits for the PA bank to operate in Israel.

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