PM reportedly planning to evaluate multiple nominees for BoI governor

Media reports say candidates to be vetted in advance by the Turkel Committee; PMO refuses to comment on reports.

August 5, 2013 23:48
1 minute read.
Eugene Kandel

Eugene Kandel 370. (photo credit: ShiloPro)


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Reports surfaced on Sunday night and Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was planning to nominate multiple candidates for the position of Bank of Israel governor, to be vetted in advance by the Turkel Committee, in order to give himself more leeway in picking a final nominee.

The Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment, while a spokesman for Finance Minister Yair Lapid would only say that the two were working in full cooperation. On Sunday, Lapid rejected legislation supported by Knesset Economics Committee chairman Avishay Braverman and Labor MK Itzik Shmuli to install a vetting committee for the governors.

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The furor over how to best evaluate candidates followed a chaotic week in which two nominees, Jacob Frenkel and Leo Leiderman, both withdrew their candidacy in the face of alleged scandals.

Both have asserted their confidence that they could gain the approval of the Turkel Committee, responsible for addressing complaints against the nominees and giving a stamp of approval before they can step into the position. The public ignominy associated with the process, however, proved too unpalatable for both.

Meanwhile, the media continued to speculate on who might fill the position, held temporarily by Karnit Flug since Stanley Fischer stepped down in June.

Flug, who was Fischer’s deputy governor and has twice been snubbed for the position, is considered an unlikely candidate at this point, while National Economic Council chairman Eugene Kandel and former Committee for Socioeconomic Change head Manuel Trajtenberg are said to be favorites. Bank of Israel Monetary Committee member Rafi Melnick’s name has been floated in the media, as has that of former justice minister Yaakov Neeman.

Globes reported that Netanyahu would submit his next pick within the week, casting doubt on the possibility of thoroughly vetting a new nominee, let alone several candidates.

By and large, the entire process has been a debacle politically. A Knesset Channel poll released Monday found that 53% of the public graded Lapid’s performance in nominating a governor badly.

Considered alongside passage of an unpopular budget, 78% of respondents said they disapproved of his job as finance minister.

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