Yesterday, the Knesset passed the bill banning trading in binary options, promoted by chair of the Knesset Reforms Committee MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu). The bill outlaws gambling on securities even when those gambling (buyers of binary options) are not resident in Israel. 51 Knesset members voted in the favour of the bill, with none against.
At the end of the debate Azaria said from the Knesset podium, "Let's vote for this important law, so that we can feel that we did at least one good thing today."
The bill was of great importance to chairman of the Israel Securities Authority Shmuel Hauser and to the Israel Police, who pointed out in committee hearings on the bill in the Knesset that the use of Israel as a base for trading in binary options harmed the country's global reputation, to the point of provoking anti-Semitic outbursts.
Azaria convened the Reforms Committee (officially known as the Special Committee on the Planning and Building Bill and the Maternity Leave and Parenting Bill) during the summer recess in order to prepare the bill for second and third reading as soon as the Knesset resumed sitting. Coalition chairman MK David Bitan promised Azaria that he would push the bill forward as soon as the Knesset winter session started, and yesterday he kept his word.
The urgency in passing the bill grew last month when an Israeli woman by the name of Lee Elbaz was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York by the FBI. Elbaz was CEO of one of the companies dealing in binary options from Israel. She was arrested on charges of securities fraud and was remanded in New York. In August this year, the company that Elbaz headed sent representatives to the Reforms Committee hearings on the bill. They tried to persuade the MKs that it would harm employment in high tech in Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 24, 2017
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