PM: Frenkel is the ‘best of the best’ candidates

Incoming BoI governor: ‘I’m proud to re-enter this institution, which I know inside-out.’

June 24, 2013 23:09
3 minute read.
BANK OF ISRAEL governor-designate Jacob Frenkel (left) sits beside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Frenkel and Bibi 370. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid presented their pick for Bank of Israel governor, Jacob Frenkel, in the Knesset on Monday.

“This was a difficult search, with many excellent candidates, but we decided on Frenkel because he's the best of the best,” Netanyahu said. “He was my first choice.”

The prime minister listed Frenkel’s qualifications: winner of the Israel Prize for Economics, professor and former Bank of Israel governor, among others. Netanyahu expressed confidence in Frenkel’s ability to maintain monetary stability and present Israel’s economy in a positive light, as well as help open the Israeli market to China.

Lapid took a lighter tone at the press conference, recounting that when he was first made finance minister, he asked Frenkel for advice.

“Frenkel told me I shouldn’t be tired, that I should get enough sleep so I can do a good job. You should sleep, too! You need to be the responsible adult of the Israeli economy,” Lapid told Frenkel.

Lapid also joked that since he and Frenkel live in the same neighborhood, they are making life easier for protesters.

“It’s two tickets for one price,” he quipped.

Outgoing Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley Fischer said Frenkel did an excellent job in the position in the past, allowing subsequent governors to run the bank in a way that helped Israel’s position in the world economy.

“Frenkel proved himself many times in more than one position. I’m sure he will continue to serve the State of Israel in this way and protect the Israeli market,” Fischer added.

The Bank of Israel governor-designate thanked Netanyahu, Lapid and Fischer for entrusting him with the important position.

“It’s not a secret that I hesitated a lot, but when there’s a prime minister who is determined and won’t accept any answer other than the one he wants to hear, you can’t say no,” Frenkel said.

“I want you to remember that,” Netanyahu interjected.

“I’m proud to re-enter this institution, which I know inside-out,” Frenkel added.

Frenkel also commended Fischer, saying the latter did such a good job as governor that he feels that he has time to re-learn the job and even get some sleep, as Lapid suggested.

Frenkel said he plans to do “pirsumei nissa,” – an Aramaic term meaning “publicizing the miracle,” used in the context of Hanukka candles – for the Israeli market.

“The potential of our market is great, but it can be promoted more, and I am committed to doing that,” he said. “There are many amazing things that are a total secret. The world doesn’t know the great things that happen here.”

Frenkel also said that the key to his success will be working as a cooperative, harmonious group with “one head and one heart” with Netanyahu and Lapid.

“I’m sure that we agree about our goals, and it will be a historic injustice if we don’t attain them,” Frenkel said.

Among the many congratulatory calls which Frenkel received on Monday, was one from President Shimon Peres, who told him that Israel does not have to look far for someone who can meet the many economic challenges confronting her, when she has one of her own to whom she can turn.

Peres thanked Frenkel for accepting the appointment and discussed with him some of the economic problems that Israel has to overcome. Peres, in his many previous positions, has also served as finance minister.

The two men agreed that everything possible must be done to encourage economic growth and to create new employment opportunities that will contribute to the continuation of a stable economy.

Peres expressed confidence that Frenkel would thrust his full professional energy into his new position and would be no less successful in the future as he has been in the past.

Frenkel’s name had apparently come up in conversations between Netanyahu and Peres, and Frenkel, aware of this, knew that Peres was warmly in favor of his appointment.

“Your recommendation helped me to make my decision,” Frenkel said.

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