Finance Ministry Director-General Haim Shani 311.
(photo credit: Tamar Matzpi / Globes)
Finance Ministry director-general Haim Shani announced his resignation
unexpectedly on Sunday morning, citing ongoing “differences of opinion” with
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
Shani reportedly quit because of
Steinitz’s cancellation of Moshe Asher’s appointment as Israel Tax Authority
director, which went against Shani’s recommendation.
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alluded in his resignation letter to disagreement over the ongoing public
protests against the high cost of living.
“To my great regret, my desire
to contribute to the State of Israel through my management and business
experience cannot be fulfilled under these conditions,” Shani said. “The events
of these past few days magnify the problems I described and reinforce my opinion
that under the current circumstances I cannot fill the position of Finance
Ministry director-general as I see fit.”
Steinitz said that he accepts
the resignation with “sadness and understanding.” He called Shani “one of the
most gifted managers in the public service, whose contribution to economic
growth and the reduction in unemployment was worth its weight in
Shani, a former CEO of Ra’anana-based NICE Systems Ltd., replaced
Yoram Ariav as Treasury chief in 2009. Ariav called Shani’s resignation
“stunning” in an interview with Army Radio, saying: “The Finance Ministry
director- general needs the full support of the finance minister and the prime
minister, something which was apparently lacking.”
Office director- general Eyal Gabai cautioned against speculating that the
resignation was related to the public protests, telling Army Radio that “people
in the Treasury come, go and resign.”
There have been whispers in recent
weeks that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted to appoint Shani to replace
Gabai – who will leave his post at the end of August – because the two men had
worked closely on a committee to increase competition in the economy, Globes
The report quoted sources as saying that Shani had been working
on a new economic plan similar to the stabilization plan of the mid-1980s, and
that Steinitz’s rejection of this plan prompted his resignation.
of accepting the initiative, Steinitz reportedly turned to economist Eytan
Sheshinski to chair a committee to examine measures to help the middle
class.Globes and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.