Moshe Sanbar, the Bank of Israel’s second governor and an influential economist,
died in Tel Aviv Monday night at age 86.
The Hungarian-born Holocaust
survivor made aliya in 1948, just months before Israel’s establishment, and was
wounded in the War of Independence.
He graduated from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem with a Masters Degree in Economics, Statistics and
Sociology in 1953.
He began his employment at the Treasury in 1958,
working his way up the ranks to become head of the budgets department and
adviser to finance ministers Levi Eshkol and Pinhas Sapir. In 1968 he was
appointed chairman of the Industrial Development Bank, while simultaneously
keeping his position as adviser to Sapir. In 1970-71 he effectively carried out
the duties of the industry and trade minister.
Sanbar served as Bank of
Israel governor from 1971- 76, guiding the economy through a tough period that
included the Yom Kippur War. He was the BoI’s second governor; the first, David
Horowitz, served for 17 years from the central bank’s founding in August
After his tenure as central bank chief, Sanbar remained involved in
business through many different roles, including chairman of Bank Leumi and
subsidiaries from 1995-98, and president of the Israeli branch of the
International Chamber of Commerce from 1992-2003. He served as chairman of
Habima Theater from 1969-82, and as chairman of the board of trustees of the
College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) from 1972-1995.
one of the most prominent representatives of Holocaust survivors.
served as chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in
Israel from 1987-2003, and as treasurer and chairman of the governing council of
the Claims Conference.
In 2004 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the
Republic of Hungary, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Central European
country. In 2011 he was made an honorary member of the European Institute for
Legacy of the Holocaust, a title bestowed on only six people.
Shimon Peres, writing in a tribute compiled by COMAS in 2003, called Sanbar “an
exceptional man of theory and a reliable man of action.”
“As an economist
he never desisted from intellectual curiosity: neither in the field of politics
nor in the arts; neither in literature nor in science,” Peres said.
can learn many things from him. I too learned. But it was possible to trust his
judgment completely. I did this. I benefited. Not just as a person, but as a
representative of the state.”