During a trip to Israel, Ira Robbins, CEO of New Jersey-based Valley National Bancorp (Valley Bank), over the weekend visited Kibbutz Be’eri, which he described as “one of the sites of the terrible atrocities that occurred on October 7.”
“Having witnessed first-hand the site of this atrocity and hearing stories of horror from the families who survived and whose children were kidnapped, my mind drifts towards how history will portray the sheer evil that took place on October 7,” Robbins wrote in a LinkedIn post. “I can’t help but wonder if it will be one based on facts or one influenced by antisemitism.”
“The real danger in life is that if we hear enough lies—we no longer recognize the truth,” he warned.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists heavily targeted and devastated Kibbutz Be’eri, killing over 100 people, more than 10 percent of the community’s population, and abducting dozens of others to Gaza, among the total of 1,200 killed and 240 abducted across the southern communities near the Gaza border. They set fire to homes, suffocating and burning the people inside.
Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality, including sexual abuse, by the terrorists. Despite definitive witness testimony, global skepticism persists about Hamas’s sexual abuse of victims while it held control over parts of southern Israel amid attempts to downplay the scale of the committed atrocities.
That’s as international attention quickly moved on from the invaders’ brutality to the Israeli military response, whose aim is to dismantle the terror group. Since the onslaught by the Iran-backed group, there have also been pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rallies held around the world, and a spike in antisemitic incidents and attacks.
Robbins said he flew to Israel at the invitation of Hanan Friedman, the CEO of Bank Leumi, one of the country’s two largest banks, which holds a 14.2 percent stake in Valley Bank.
Robbins thanked Friedman for inviting him to Israel to experience “what the Israeli people have been dealing with for the past month.”
Robbins said that Valley Bank is partnering with Bank Leumi to provide critical financial support and aid to help rebuild Kibbutz Be’eri.
“I stand in support of a better humanity,” Robbins said.
In 2022, Leumi merged Leumi USA, the bank’s United States operations, with Valley Bank to boost its exposure to the US banking market. As part of the deal, Leumi obtained 14.2% of the merged bank stocks and became the largest non-controlling shareholder.