In a coordinated effort, key figures from the fintech sector and leading financial companies are partnering with the National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing (NBCTF) in Israel to address terrorism financing.
The joint initiative seeks to integrate Israel’s official sanctions list regarding terrorism financing into the worldwide financial system in an effort to disrupt the flow of funds to various organizations.
The escalating conflict involving groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Iranian Quds Force has prompted increased focus on countering the financing of these entities. The strategy involves impeding the financial capabilities of these organizations and thereby limiting their capacity to recruit, acquire assets, and carry out attacks.
While the NBCTF and security agencies have been actively involved in these efforts, the inclusion of the Israeli fintech sector signifies a notable development. Companies including ThetaRay, eToro, PSG, and Viola have joined forces to implement Israel’s sanctions regime on terrorism financing on a global scale.
The collaboration is unfolding at a crucial juncture, with the list of sanctions and seizure orders issued by the Defense Ministry experiencing significant growth. The NBCTF’s actions against Hamas’s investment arm and its efforts to impose sanctions on individuals and companies have intensified since the conflict escalated. In 2023 alone, 363 orders were issued, involving freezing assets and seizing funds totaling about NIS 642.91 million.
Bureau against terror funding was established in 2018
The NBCTF was established in 2018 within the Defense Ministry, and it serves as the coordinating body for the national effort against terrorist funds. Its unique role encompasses executing the Defense Ministry’s designations and implementing and enforcing these designations on an international scale. The bureau collaborates with governmental bodies and private financial-sector entities, and it conducts ongoing monitoring to proactively address and seize funds associated with terrorism.
As Israel intensifies its economic efforts against terrorist financing, the collaboration between fintech leaders and the NBCTF aims to disrupt the financial infrastructure supporting various organizations, contributing to global efforts to enhance security and stability.
Mark Gazit, co-founder of ThetaRay, underscored the significance of global cooperation in addressing terrorist financing.
“Preventing terror, which has become an acute issue for financial institutions and banks, will be made possible by Israel’s willingness to transparently provide the list of entities and bank accounts suspected of financing terrorism,” he said.
Gazit highlighted the NBCTF’s proactive approach in engaging with banks and fintech companies involved in international money transfers on a case-by-case basis.
“No less important, in the war on terror financing, financial institutions will be able to enforce sanctions only on terrorist organization activities and not harm the global economy, which will be able to continue to grow,” he said.