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Why does the finance minister take the humiliation? Why does he pretend the spit dribbling down his face is rain? Never mind his status. The fate of Israel's economy is at stake, and all the roads are leading to ruin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handed down his ruling on Bank of Israel pay yesterday, and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz hastened to applaud that disgrace too. The fact that Netanyahu was needed attests to Steinitz's lowly status.

Netanyahu, as has been his wont, made his decision in order to gain peace and quiet; Steinitz doesn't count with him anyway. The PM ruled that the Finance Ministry would keep supervising central bank pay, but only superficially. If the bank doesn't like the ministry's decisions, and it won't, Netanyahu will step in.

So what's the wages director there for? Let everybody go straight to the prime minister and save time.

The establishment of an external committee to rule on central bank pay is also a joke; its members will belong to the economic elite and the money they're agreeing to isn't theirs. Why would they pick a fight with the central bank?

The wages director has been castrated. Maybe he should quit. He can't even handle wage irregularities he finds at the central bank.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer led the battle like the union heads at the Electric Corporation - anything to further his aim of achieving wage increases. Fischer said he was fighting for central bank independence. But the real deal is that he wanted pay well above public-sector norms so he can hire higher-quality people. So why not raise pay throughout government? (Nehemia Shtrasler)