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Occupy Israel? Israeli activists hold Day of Rage against Bank of Israel

Organizers of the Day of Rage say that the Israeli banking system is controlled by the wealthy.

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Stanley Fischer, governor of the Central Bank of Israel looks at a computer screen at the 2012 World Economic Forum meeting on January 27, 2012 in Davos. More than 2,600 businessmen, politicians, leaders of non-governmental organisations or scientists and hundreds of journalists pack the resort each year for the World Economic Forum. ( ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists in Israel are planning a Day of Rage today to protest the Bank of Israel. The Day of Rage is takes place just as the bank releases its 2011 financial reports, Haaretz reported.

Day of Rage co-founder Idan Miller said that the Israeli banking system is uncompetitive and controlled by the wealthy. He accused Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer of enabling banks to exploit the rest of the public. 

"There is a closed clique of 20 or 30 people that operates almost like the mafia. But we don't have any complaints against this clique - the banks' goal is to maximize their profits and that is okay," Miller told Haaretz. "Our problem is with the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, who has allowed them to exploit the public for years."

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The Bank of Israel's annual report indicates that income inequality grew faster in Israel than in other developed countries, according to Haaretz, with high salary gaps between educated and uneducated workers.  

But The Washington Post reported today that the report also shows that Israel's economy grew 4.7 percent in 2011.

Fischer did note that there is high unemployment in Israel, but blamed the problem on discrimination against Israel's Arabs. In addition, many ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in Israel refuse to work and instead live on government handouts. Fisher said the two groups, which together make up 30 percent of Israel's population, must join the workforce, according to the Post. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120329/occupy-israel-israeli-activists-hold-day-of-rage-against-banks