Israel has been granted permission to become a member of the international body combatting financing of terrorist groups. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) confirmed Tel Aviv as its 38 member today.
Announcing Israel’s membership, the Paris-based FATF said: “Israel has undergone a rigorous assessment of its measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. During this demanding process, the country demonstrated its commitment to protect the integrity of the financial system. Israel has established a robust anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing framework that is achieving good results in identifying and responding to the risks the country is facing.”
The inter-governmental body established in 1989, is a policy making organisation which describes itself as an agency that “set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.”
Prior to being granted full membership, Israel had only had observer status within the international body. Joining the FATF was a national strategic objective of Israel, said Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, head of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.
Granting Israel higher status within the institute will make it easier for Tel Aviv to lobby world powers to cut funding for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas; two organisations that formed in reaction to Israel’s occupation of Lebanon and Palestine.
Ratner said that joining FATF would allow the Israeli financial sector to function more easily in the international economy. “An additional significant factor,” added Ratner, “is that, for the first time, the State of Israel will be able to take part in setting international rules in the realm of terror financing and money laundering, rules that it is subject to in any event.”