New Israeli Law Would Ban Business With North Korea, Iran

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to the members of the Korean People’s Army. (KCNA/via Reuters)

Iran, which is said to be assisted by North Korea in developing its nuclear program, is a mortal enemy of Israel – but oddly, there is no specific law banning Israelis from doing business with either country. That is set to change, as the government is preparing a bill that will prevent Israelis from doing business with countries that manufacture or develop programs of weapons of mass destruction, Yisrael Hayom reported Monday.

The bill, an adjustment to existing laws on international business relations, is being worked on by top government officials, led by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The proposal that will be presented to the Ministerial Law Committee in the coming weeks says that the purpose of the law is “to streamline the ban of Israelis on doing business with rogue regimes, and to enable Israel to adhere to international guidelines, based on declarations of the United Nations Security Council and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),” an international group with over 150 members and sponsored by the G-7 Group of Industrialized Nations that seeks to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and other matters that “threaten integrity of the international financial system,” according to the organization.

According to the report, Israel does not currently match the standards set by the FATF, and it has not adopted all the sanctions and other measures against rogue countries set by the UN Security Council. Israel has been in discussion with the group since 2013, in order to develop a law that would adhere to those standards, and the new proposal has been approved by the FATF, the report added.

The law would ban Israelis from doing any business with countries like North Korea, which is under severe international sanctions. In addition, it would ban Israelis from doing business with Iran, even though some of the sanctions against that country have been lifted as a result of the international nuclear deal it signed.

Although Israel and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, and there is no trade between the two countries, hundreds of Israelis have traveled there. The North Korean government has even appointed an Israeli travel agency as the official agency to arrange tours of the country.

Despite a government-issued travel warning, the destination is a popular one, Haim Peres of Tarbuto, that officially sanctioned agency, told Channel Ten. “People are old enough to decide whether or not they are prepared to handle the political tension involved,” he said. “North Korea is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world today. It is a country almost completely closed off to the rest of the world and cut off even from its neighbors, full of mystery,” he added.