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Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer on Tuesday turned down an offer from Prime Minister-designate and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu to serve as finance minister in the upcoming coalition.

Netanyahu, who met earlier with current finance minister, Roni Bar-On, made the offer to Fischer during a meeting at the Bank of Israel in Jerusalem.

Fischer briefed Netanyahu on economic issues currently preoccupying the state in the shadow of the global financial crisis. The governor also gave Netanyahu a run-down of the challenges facing the Israeli economy.

When offered the job, Fischer told Netanyahu that he has no interest in a political post. The Bank of Israel refused to respond to the report.

Netanyahu, who on Tuesday named a negotiating staff to handle coalition talks with the various parties expected to comprise the next government, has yet to devote much attention to handing out portfolios to incoming ministers.

The Likud chief and former premier is reportedly intent on holding onto the finance ministry though there have been indications that he is preparing the groundwork to offer the job to an individual outside of the political establishment.