The expected timeline for selecting a Bank of Israel governor has grown once
more as Finance Minister Yair Lapid told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday
that the choice may take “weeks.”
“This is a fine example of the fact
that comedies are just tragedies in fast-forward,” Lapid said in reference to
the saga of choosing a successor for Stanley Fischer, who stepped down in June.
“We have managed to choose two candidates who turn out to be the wrong
candidates and they decided to withdraw, and now it’s going to take a few days
or weeks more.”
Just two days earlier, Lapid told The Jerusalem Post that
a decision would be made within a matter of days.
The Committee for the
Appointment of Senior Civil Servants, headed by Judge Jacob Turkel, approved
last week three possible nominees for the post: former Central Bank of Argentina
president Mario Blejer, former Bank of Israel deputy governor Zvi Eckstein and
former Finance Ministry director and Bank Mizrahi CEO Victor
Lapid and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly have sharp
disagreements over which of the three to choose.
The most recent delay is
only the latest in a series of stumbles in the process of selecting a new chief
for the central banks. Though Fischer announced in January that he would step
down at the end of June, Lapid and Netanyahu did not nominate a successor until
several weeks after his departure.
That nominee, former governor Jacob
Frenkel, subsequently withdrew his candidacy following an uproar over an alleged
shoplifting scandal in the Hong Kong airport seven years earlier.
next nominee, Bank Hapoalim chief economist Leo Leiderman, withdrew his
nomination after just two days, as rumors of professional misconduct and his
consulting with an astrologer made their way into the headlines.
interview with the Post
on Monday, Lapid denounced the media scrutiny of the
candidates, saying it would deter potential office holders in the
“A lot of what is bad in the Israeli discourse came out through
this,” he said. “I understand the end result of what happened, I don’t
understand the amount of bad blood and evilness that came through this.”