The reason behind the ruling, explained the court, is that buying shares in a company makes the investor a partner in said company; most publicly-traded companies, however, tend to negate Jewish law by violating Shabbat or through the use of inappropriate advertising. According to the ruling, then, a haredi Jew must not be a partner in such an enterprise.
"The various investment instruments, especially the pension and provident (funds), are full partners in investments that involve Torah prohibitions: that earn yields from profits (generated) by selling on Shabbat, which the malls run roughshod over; from the products of factories that operate on Shabbat and Yom Kippur; from (television) channels that are full of filth; and from obscene advertising," explained a pamphlet released by the Badatz. "You and I are unwitting partners in all of these."
One example of such a company, referred to in the pamphlet, is Nochi Dankner's IDB Holdings. It goes on to explain that in investing in this company, you are investing in all its subsidiary companies, as well, including the Nesher cement company, which works on Shabbat and Yom Kippur.
The booklet also singles out the Maman cargo terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport, which operates on Shabbat “as if it were a weekday.”
The Badatz also forbids haredim from investing in what have been among the hottest shares in the past two months - gas and oil exploration companies, as they continue to drill on Shabbat.
The ruling, however, has proven to be quite radical in nature, as it encompasses virtually all publicly-traded companies whose success sometimes relies on breaking Jewish halacha.
The Badatz does, however, permit investments in exchange-traded funds that track their indexes, as well as bonds that receive halachic approval.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life