One of Israel's largest banks. It is deeply involved in the expansion of Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.
Bank Leumi is one of the largest banks in Israel. For decades, it has facilitated the expansion of Israel's illegal settlement enterprise by routinely providing loans to construction projects in the occupied West Bank. As documented by Who Profits, between 2017 and 2022 alone, the bank granted loans to multiple construction companies for building hundreds of housing units in at least seven illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, including three neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
The bank also finances commercial projects in illegal Israeli settlements. For example, it financed the construction of a business park and the Design City shopping mall in two illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Bank Leumi also played a role in the construction and expansion of the Jerusalem Light Rail, a rail system that cuts through occupied Palestinian land and connects illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem with the western part of the city. According to Who Profits, the bank provided a loan to Israeli construction and infrastructure company Ya'acobi Brothers for upgrading and maintaining the railway's traffic lights.
In addition, the bank operates branches in five illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and one in the occupied Golan Heights. It also provides loans and other financial services to several illegal Israeli settlement councils.
Through Leumi Partners, Bank Leumi owns 20% of the shares of Taavura Holdings, an Israeli transportation, logistics, and energy services holding group that is deeply involved in the occupation.
Because of these activities, Bank Leumi was included on the 2020 United Nations Database of companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- In July 2021, Norway's largest pension fund KLP announced that it would divest assets in 16 companies that "contribute[d] to violations of human rights in war and conflict situations through their affiliation with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank." The companies that KLP named include Alstom, Altice Europe, Ashtrom, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, Bezeq, Cellcom, Delek, Electra, Energix Renewable Energies, First Interntional Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Motorola, Partner, and Paz Oil Company. KLP held investments totaling approximately $31.8 million in the companies at the time of its decision.
- In March 2021, the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the NZ Super Fund, divested from five Israeli banks (including First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot) because of the banks' fianancing of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory.
- In November 2020, the Episcopalian Church added Leumi Bank and DXC to its divestment list.
- In November 2020, San Francsico State University's student government passed a resolution calling for the university to pull out of investments in companies that do business in Israeli settlements, referencing the 112 companies linked to the illegal settlements in Palestine as listed by the United Nations.
- In October 2020, Fresno State University’s student government voted in favor of a divestment resolution calling for the university to divest from the 112 companies linked to the illegal settlements in Palestine, as listed by the United Nations.
- In June 2020, the largest pension fund in the Netherlands, with $500 billion in assets, ABP, announced that it has stopped investing in two Israeli banks: Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi. ABP's policies require that companies it invests in with increased risk of human rights violations have a human rights policy. An ABP spokesperson claimed that both these banks have no such policy. This is a reversal of the ABP's decision from 2014 to keep investing in Israeli Banks despite human rights concerns.
- In October 2017, the third largest pension fund in Denmark, Sampension, moved to exclude four companies from their portfolio due to their investments in the illegal Israeli settlment activities. The four companies were Israeli banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, and HeidelbergCement and Bezeq.
- On June 12, 2017, Swedish Bank SEB added Bank Leumi in its no-buy-list. The bank declared that it is removing from all its funds forty companies "that violate international standards for the environment, corruption, human rights and labor law." The bank had previously stopped investing in companies involved in nuclear programs and in coal production.
- On January 12, 2016, the United Methodist Church’s Pension Board, one of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., placed five Israeli Banks on its divestment list, claiming that these companies “pose excessive human rights risks.” The five banks are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.
- In May 2015 the Olgethorpe University Student Senate passed a resolution to divest from Bank Leumi “based on evidence of their active role in human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
- In February 2014, Luxembourg’s national pension fund excluded Bank Leumi from its list of investments because of its “association [with] financing illegal settlements in occupied territories.”
- Dutch pension fund PFZW divested from Bank Leumi in 2014, citing its “involvement in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
- Nordea Bank engaged Bank Leumi in 2014, requesting “clarifications regarding their activities in the territories.”