Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Before Bank Leumi it was Anglo Palestine Bank founded in London

Here you have an ultra rare, very early large-sized financial draft (bank check) issued by the Anglo Palestine Co. (Bank Leumi today) in Jerusalem in 1906, 4 years after its founding in London, and only 2 years after first opening its doors in Palestine (in Jaffa).
     As per the company's history below, the Anglo-Palestine Co. Limited was the financial arm of the Zionist Organization!! Its strong Jewish roots are clearly evident on this document in numerous ways:
  • At the very top is a panel with Hebrew (and Aramic) text.
  • At the bottom left is an inscription that reads "Closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holydays"
  • Taking up the entire width and most of the height is an ornate blue oval underprint with the company title encircling the Star of David!
     The draft is issued to one Isaac Schmerling Esquire in the amount of 600 Francs. It is hand signed by the Cashier and Head Teller of the Jerusalem branch.
      Excellent clean crisp VF-XF condition with just 2-3 light folds. Paper color is buff, not pink as it appears in scan.
      A truly fantastic piece of Zionist/Judaic history! Nothing else like it found on Ebay!
Founded in London as the Anglo Palestine Company on February 27, 1902 by members of the Zionist movement to promote the industry, construction, agriculture, and infrastructure of Palestine.


Bank Leumi was founded at the Second Zionist Congress and incorporated in London in 1899 as the financial instrument of the Zionist Organization. The initial capital raised - a total of £395,000 - fell far short of the £8 million target; Nahum Sokolow in 1919 wrote: "The British East Africa Company, which administered 200,000 square miles, began with the same amount £250,000." The bank's activities in Palestine were carried out by the Anglo-Palestine Bank, a subsidiary formed in 1902. The bank opened its first branch in Jaffa in 1903 under the management of Zalman David Levontin. Early transactions included land purchase, imports and obtaining concessions. Branches were opened in JerusalemBeirutHebronSafedHaifaTiberias and Gaza.
The Anglo-Palestine Bank offered farmers long-term loans and provided loans to the Ahuzat Bayit association which built the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv. During World War I, the Ottoman government declared the bank, because it was registered in England, to be an enemy institution and moved to shut it down and confiscate its cash.
After World War I, its operations expanded. In 1932, the main branch moved from Jaffa to Jerusalem.
During World War II, the Anglo-Palestine Bank helped to finance the establishment of industries that manufactured supplies for the British army. After the founding of the state of Israel, the bank won the concession to issue new banknotes. In 1950, the bank was renamed Bank Leumi Le-Israel (National Bank of Israel). When the Bank of Israel was established in 1954, Bank Leumi became a commercial bank.
The bank was nationalized in 1983, as a result of the Bank Stock Crisis.
Today, Bank Leumi is Israel's leading commercial bank, with $85 billion in assets and a presence in USA, Switzerland, UK and 18 other countries (as of 2008). Bank Leumi is mainly in private hands, with the government as the largest single shareholder, with 14.8% of the stock (as of June 2006). The other major shareholders are Shlomo Eliyahu and Branea Invest, which each hold 10% of the stock, constituting the control core of the bank. 60% of the bank's stocks are held by the public and traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Landmark buildings

Historic Bank Leumi branch on Jaffa Road
The main branch of Bank Leumi on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, built during the British Mandate by the German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn, has been declared a landmark building. Another branch of Bank Leumi on the corner of Ramban Street in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood, an example of Bauhausarchitecture, was designed by the German Jewish architect Leopold Krakauer. It was built in 1935 as a private home, and was renovated in 2007 to restore the original facade.

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