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July 26, 2016 12:48 pm

The Times of Israel Goes on a Crusade Against Israeli Binary-Option Peddlers

avatar by Steven Plaut

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People being phoned by Israelis selling binary  options could just hang up, says the author. Photo: Wikipedia.

People being phoned by Israelis selling binary options could just hang up, says the author. Photo: Wikipedia.

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

I am writing to convey my frustration at the fact that you are not tackling the most serious problem facing Israel. I base this criticism on having read the Times of Israel electronic magazine, edited by David Horovitz, former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.

It seems, Mr. Prime Minister, you have not realized that the number one problem facing Israel is the need to suppress the agencies operating out of Israel that phone people up in Europe and try to sell them “binary options.” Instead you are wasting your time attempting to resolve other challenges facing the country, such as the arming of Iran, genocidal Islamofascism, radicalization of Israeli Arabs, global antisemitism, housing inflation, inequality and left-wing fascism at home.

As you will know if you have been reading the Times of Israel, none of those things matter. The real national crisis is that involving agencies paying Israeli youths minimum wage to place phone calls to Europe and to solicit the Europeans to invest in “binary options.” These are risky financial derivatives that let the investor bet on the direction of price trends, such as exchange rates, betting either they go up or down. If you bet wrong, you lose your bet, like with all options. Horovitz, who never took a course in financial derivatives, would not know that.

Instead, the ToI has for months run article after article about how awful the option-peddling by these folks is, because – well – the peddlers lie. They tell their phone clients the options are a good investment, but they are actually risky. ToI editors have never heard that salesmen often stretch the truth, and I have a used car that is perfect I am willing to sell them, a 1980 Subaru third-hand with a squirrel in the engine block. It has never occurred to ToI editors that the French and Belgian farmers getting the phone calls from Israeli options salesmen can just say no or hang up. Israelis get junk phone calls every day from salesmen, charlatan kabbalists, and phony charities, yet manage to survive and even hang up.

Not true, say the ToI “journalists.” The Israel-based peddlers of options are thieves who steal money from Eurodunces too dumb to hang up on them. They know this because they found some people who lost their savings playing this market. And this massive “theft” and “fraud” is the source of new worldwide antisemitism.

Internet poker and casinos, some of which were also set up by Israelis, do not seem to bother them. Nor does sports betting. “Binaries” are actually benign in comparison to some other investments being legally peddled, like “day trading” platforms. Binary options are legal in most places, although when selling in Israel to Israelis, the seller needs a broker license. By lying to the Eurodunces in places where no license is needed, according to the ToI, they are making the world hate Israel.

Horovitz and his gang also oppose ads for the binaries and demand that Bibi ban them at once. That would leave only ads for Tel Aviv escort services. After that, they will demand that Bibi take action against Nigerian princes with an inheritance they want you to hold for them, and email messages that begin, “Dearest One.”

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  • Ingvard Nagstrom
  • Jacob Shabat

    I am a good Jew and want my family to be proud of Israel, this fraud over and over again happening makes us all look bad. You give a bad name that will remembered by all non Jews to attack us! תתבייש לך! When they attack us you remember this!

  • Banc De Binary was caught claiming to be on Wall Street (in Trump Tower, no less) while they were really in Tel Aviv. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission booted them out of the US and forced Banc De Binary to refund every loss to a US resident.


    There’s an official “RED list” of financial operations trying to sell to US persons without complying with US law:

    The US authorities are on the job, but there are a lot of these operations, and it’s hard to close them down from the US end alone. The government of Israel needs to shut down its own crooks.

  • Jacob

    In addition to his insincere tu quoque argument, the author presents a false dilemma. Surely, the binary options and contract for difference industry can be worthy of additional regulatory attention at the same time Israel addresses other important issues. One wonders what could possibly motivate the author to go out of his way to minimize criticism of universally derided business practices.

  • WB

    As has often happened in the past, my comment was censored. This Internet news source doesn’t tolerate those who express ideas and opinions critical of Jewish Establishment spokespersons.


  • WB

    Plaut is correct to cast doubt on anything TOI publishes. As he notes, TOI distracts from real issues. They represent the so-called ‘moderate’ voices in Israel who talk about ‘painful sacrifices’ and the ‘inevitable pragmatic reality of a Palestinian state.’ So it’s good that Plaut uses his famous sarcasm to cast doubt on TOI. Very good, indeed.

    Plaut is supposedly a Professor of Economics, although he rarely writes on this subject. While his description of Binary Options is partly correct, he doesn’t seem to understand what the business in Israel is really about. He doesn’t know how those who run these businesses abuse their employees and cheat their clients. Resting on his academic laurels, and his fame as an Alan Dershowitz clone, Plaut does exactly what he complains about TOI doing… he misdirects the public’s perceptions.

    Binary Options a scam, Mr. Plaut, and you’re arguing that this scam is somehow legitimate.

    Perhaps the glib and loquacious Plaut can do some actual research about this financial scam, such as talking with people who’ve worked in it or who’ve been burned by one of its many operations.

    Israel, unfortunately, is a giant petri dish of fraud… HQ for some of the most amazing rip-offs ever conceived. Binary Options is just one of these frauds. Oddly, while TOI is not any better than Haaretz, their articles on the Binary Options business are one of the few good things they’ve done.

  • Dave Roberts

    I been consistently reading the articles in TOI and I agree with you. This is financial malfeasance that would be banned in NY, London, Paris and Hamburg. I wrote to the Financial Services Deputy in the Knesset and asked him/her too stop this theft.

  • Yaakov

    I agree entirely. Why do anything to try to change the perception of many in the world that Jews are experts in geneiva? After all, it gives us so much delicious pleasure to take umbrage every time someone includes the words “Jews” and “money” in the same sentence. It’s evident that the term “Jewish state” favored by political ideologues refers only to an ethnic definition of “Jewish” anyway. So let’s hear it for geneivat da’at!