Female politicians across the political spectrum overwhelmingly supported Karnit Flug’s appointment as new Bank of Israel Governor Sunday, though many could not resist making a dig at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid for taking so long to make the choice that was right under their noses.
“Dr. Flug is the most experienced, talented and appropriate candidate for the job, even if I don’t agree with all of her stances,” opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich said, pointing to the importance of Israel having its first female BoI governor, which “puts Israel in an enlightened and egalitarian light in the international community.”
Though Yacimovich called the process of selecting a BoI governor “inadequate and sometimes ridiculous,” she commended Netanyahu for “having the courage to admit his mistake and fix it, and in the end he made the best decision.”
After Stanley Fischer resigned as governor in June, Netanyahu and Lapid nominated Jacob Frenkel and then Leo Leiderman to replace him, but both candidates later withdrew their nominations for the position.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni focused on Flug’s gender, saying that “finally, we too realized that gender is not relevant when it comes to professionalism and we’re not afraid to appoint a woman to a senior financial position, even if it’s considered a ‘masculine’ job.”
“Dr. Flug has experience and talent, and I have no doubt she will successfully fill the big shoes Stanley Fischer left behind, not because she is a woman, but because she is a professional,” she added.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat congratulated Flug, the current acting BoI governor, for making “another crack in the glass ceiling,” pointing out that Flug filled the position successfully for the last three months.
In addition, three of Israel’s five major banks are led by women, which Livnat called “an amazing situation where a major part of the Israeli economy will be guided by women.”
“Step by step, one peak after another, slowly slowly, [women] are reaching one goal after another,” Livnat said. “It may not happen as quickly as we want, but it’s happening, slowly but surely.”
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Flug’s appointment is a historic milestone on the way to gender equality.
“The disintegration of the gender barrier in business and in banks in Israel created a reality in which women hold key positions in our economy,” Hotovely said. “Dr. Karnit Flug proved that she has the necessary skills for the job and I wish her luck.”
Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, said Flug is “the right person in the right place, and there is no argument about her professional abilities, her rich experience and suitability for the job, and I am sure she will do it well, as former Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer predicted.”
“Flug’s noble behavior in recent months is inspiring and teaches us an important lesson about reaching our goals and wars of ego,” Lavie added.
The Female MKs Caucus called Flug “a role model for women and proof that they can and should reach decision- making positions in Israel.”
“It’s too bad that in order to appoint a female Bank of Israel governor there had to be such a long and unnecessary process,” MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) said. “I commend the worthy appointment and the end of an embarrassing farce on the way to one of the most important jobs.”
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