Did stock traders profit from Hamas attack on Israel?

Study argued that short sellers made hundreds of millions by anticipating the attacks but it badly misread the numbers

Short sellers aren’t happy about a new study suggesting traders informed in advance about the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel profited by betting against Israeli stocks.

Trading on Terror?, a study co-authored by American law professors Robert Jackson and Joshua Mitts, alleges there was a “significant spike” in short selling of an Israeli exchange-traded fund (ETF) as well as increased shorting in multiple Israeli stocks before the attacks.

Unsurprisingly, the allegations made headlines, only for Israeli experts to point out flaws in the report.

The study initially suggested shorts bagged profits of some €800 million by betting against Israeli stocks. Investigating the claims, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) noted the researchers had mistakenly calculated the share prices in shekels instead of agorot.


The result: any apparent gains were inflated 100-fold, from €8 million to €800 million. TASE also said the study displayed a “lack of understanding” regarding regulation of short trades in Israel, describing the researchers’ approach as “regrettable”.

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O’Mahony, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes the weekly Stocktake column