Israel's Finance Ministry Chief Resigns Amid Growing Civil Unrest

Haim Shani quits after prime minister accuses finance ministry of ineptitude; sources say Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to lose his job.

Finance ministry Director General Haim Shani resigned from his post Sunday over disagreements with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

According to reports, the prime minister's office is becoming increasingly frustrated with the treasury's ineptitude in light of the growing housing protests. Sources say that the finance ministry is waiting out the storm, pointing to the fact that the finance minister has not convened his advisory board since the "cottage protest" last month.

Haim Shani - Michal Patel - July 2011
Michal Patel

The Prime Minister's Office Director General Eyal Gabai told Army Radio on Sunday he did not know about Shani's intention to resign. "I heard about the resignation this morning," he said. "It happens that employees of the treasury ministry resign I would advise not to jump to conclusions that the resignation has anything to do with the protests."

Beginning this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to delegate some of the treasury's authority to Gabai and other officials in the prime minister's office.

The top brass at the finance ministry in recent days has realized that eventually it will have to provide answers to quell the growing civil unrest. It is yet to be seen whether Steinitz himself may lose his post over his ministry's inaction.