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E*Trade Israel is heading for the void. Most of its workers have been fired and the company is about to be shut down, TheMarker has learned.

Knafaim (TASE:


) today reported an NIS 24 million loss for the second quarter, out of which NIS 17 million came from writeoffs principally for E*Trade.

Arnon Zehavi left the position of E*Trade's chief executive back in June. No replacement was ever named. A month ago five of the company's 25 remaining staffers were laid off and the salaries of the rest were cut back.

E*Trade runs an online brokerage service for Israeli investors to invest in the U.S. markets. Its site was launched in May 2001. The company claims to have built a base of thousands of paying subscribers, from investment houses to arbitrage players to bit players.

Unlike the banks, which charge a percent of each transaction, E*Trade charged fixed commissions, making it an attractive alternative in big transactions.

In 2001, E*Trade Israel lost NIS 16.4 million. Kardan had invested NIS 3.2 million in the startup during 2001, and lent it another NIS 7.7 million.

Kardan Technologies owned 51% of the company. The American online investing company E*Trade (NYSE:ET), which set up shop in 1997, owned another 20%. That parent company still employs some 4,000 people and is traded on Wall Street at a company value of $1.3 billion.