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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer urged incoming Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on his first day in office to take the necessary steps to help the economy emerge from the crisis as soon as possible.
"I am pleased that we succeeded in meeting on your first day in this important post," Fischer told Steinitz Wednesday in Jerusalem. "The Finance Ministry plays an important and central role in dealing with the crisis. The actions taken by the Finance Ministry will have an impact on how fast we can come out of the crisis."
The central bank would work closely with the Finance Ministry, Fischer said, adding, "I am convinced that we can assist you in your difficult role, which I believe you will master well."
Earlier in the day, Steinitz and Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) met with the Finance Ministry management and senior officials. Cohen has been an MK since 1996, has served on the Finance, Labor and Welfare committees, and was deputy finance minister from 2001-2002.
"I am proud to have been given the role of heading this ministry," Steinitz said. "In a period of a global economic tornado, which is also reaching us, we need to provide an answer for the citizens of this country from the South to the North, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat.
"This is the time to roll up our sleeves and work in harmony. First and foremost, with the prime minister and his office, as well as with the Bank of Israel, the Histadrut Labor Federation and the Israel Manufacturers Association. We will act together and listen to all."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he would also serve as minister for economic strategy. In that position he will coordinate economic policy and chair the economic cabinet.
"I have the privilege of serving as finance minister together with the prime minister, who understands economics, likes the subject and brings with him ample experience. I consider this an advantage for the ministry and the challenges ahead of us," Steinitz said. "I promise that you will find in me a full and loyal partner, stubborn at times, but open to learn, ask and make decisions."
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer entered his office Wednesday afternoon, and the ministry's officials parted with the outgoing minister, Eli Yishai.
"We are in the midst of an economic tsunami, and this ministry has an array of tools that can be utilized to create employment and avert layoffs by promoting industries that will help minimize the damage of this crisis and boost economic activity," Ben-Eliezer said.