Anonymous campaign against Israel Securities Authority chairman elicits rebuke from Lapid

Shmuel Hauser (photo credit: courtesy)
Shmuel Hauser
(photo credit: courtesy)
An anonymous campaign criticizing Israel Securities Authority chairman Shmuel Hauser this week elicited rebukes from Finance Minister Yair Lapid and several other economic policy leaders on Thursday.
In a phone call with Hauser, Lapid said he rejected the personal nature of the campaign by “anonymous sources with funds and hidden interests, whose entire objective is to threaten and discourage a public servant doing an honest job without fear and without bias for the good of the saving and investing public.”
The group at the center of the campaign calls itself “Save TASE [Tel Aviv Stock Exchange],” though its efforts have only yielded it 45 “Likes” on its Facebook page.
Earlier in the week, it sent email messages blaming Hauser for poor performance at the TASE to investment firms and media outlets . On Wednesday, a YouTube clip was circulated critiquing him with statements such as “100 companies have already left the stock exchange” and “the capital market is falling apart.”
It also featured a clip of Mellanox CEO Eyal Waldman explaining how regulatory burdens caused him to delist the company from the the exchange.
By the ISA’s own admission, an unruly proportion of Israeli companies opt for foreign “exits,” and liquidity at the stock market has fallen dramatically.
Yet Hauser has sought reforms to upend these trends, arguing for limited deregulation and accentuating the importance to both free the hands of the market while keeping it safe from systemic harm.
Hauser has aroused controversy in the past; the decisions of both the stock exchange’s CEO and chairman to step down this summer was widely viewed as a result of a power struggle between them and Hauser.
The Finance Ministry’s director of capital markets Dorit Selinger, Bank Supervisor Dudu Zaken and Anti-Trust Authority head David Gilo issued a joint statement on Thursday decrying the campaign.
“While public debate around the policies of one regulator or another are appropriate and desirable, in this case it looks as though boundaries were crossed, and an attempt to influence policy has become an unbridled assault against a public servant,” the statement read.