In the background of Israel pushing for harder paralyzing sanctions against Iran, the Jerusalem Post revealed Sunday that a law passed in 2008 forbidding Israelis from investing in companies that do direct business with Teheran, sponsored by then opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, has never actually been implemented. When the law was passed, Kadima MK Ronnie Bar-On was acting finance minister, but did nothing to actually implement the bill into practice. Neither did current finance minister Yuval Steinitz, though he has recently begun taking measures to activate it.The bill, in theory, prevents Israeli financial institutions and insurance firms from investing in companies that work with Iran, thereby making Israeli divestment from Iran complete up to the second degree of separation.Bar-On was then authorized to name a committee chairman who would take measures to implement the bill, but that never actually happened. The committee was supposed to be made up of two appointees from the PMO, one from the Foreign, Defense, and Industry Trade and Labor Ministries, one from the Securities Authority, and one from the Authority against Money Laundering.
The law was the only bill that Netanyahu actually sponsored during the 18th Knesset during his reign as opposition leader as head of the then 12-seat Likud faction. Along with passage of the bill, he convinced several state legislatures in the US to divest from Iran indirectly as well.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran constitutes a danger to world peace and the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the time. “It has been proven that economic sanctions cause definite changes in the international and political policies of countries worldwide. Avoiding contact with companies and corporations that uphold ties with Iran will put pressure on them to quit these ties. In the approval of this bill Israel has demanded that the countries of the world commit themselves to prohibiting Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”Charismatic statements, however, were apparently not enough to actually make the bill do anything in particular.