Israeli Defence Force Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz is coming under increased pressure to resign. His bank, Bank Leumi, is to investigate whether its staff leaked information in a scandal over the General’s share dealings. Halutz sold off his share portfolio three hours after Hizbollah kidnapped two soldiers on the Lebanese border, and the war began. The Tel Aviv stock exchange shed more than eight percent of its value during the crisis, although it has since recovered much of that.
Halutz denies any wrongdoing, and says he sold out because he needed money after losses prior to July the 12th. He dismissed the claims made in an Israeli newspaper of unethical behaviour as “malicious and tendentious”, and denied he knew war, and its likely affect on share prices, was imminent. Criticism of the General has come in from across the political spectrum, but no government figure has commented, and the Israeli financial regulator says no laws have been broken.