Analysis

Bank Governor Affair Shows Danger of Leaving Israel's Fate Up to Any Duo

The framework of consultations and judgment on matters of national importance must be broadened.

In her home near the Pacific Ocean in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, Jolanta Wysocka is now relaxing, unaware that another woman has taken her place as the star of the saga of the appointment of a new governor of the Bank of Israel.

Wysocka, born in Poland, is an expert in investment analysis, currency and financial markets who happened to find herself with former Bank of Israel Governor Jacob Frenkel in the duty-free store in Hong Kong’s airport in November 2006. She stubbornly refuses to publicly give her version of what happened there, though she did tell her story to the authorities in Hong Kong after Frenkel’s arrest, and in preparation for his trial for taking a garment bag from the duty-free shop without paying for it. Her affidavit supported Frenkel’s version of events in the shameful, embarrassing story - as he describes it. Poles must help one another; Frenkel has fond memories of his Polish tradition.

Now, with the appointment of Dr. Karnit Flug as the bank’s new governor, Visotzka can relax. The Israeli press will stop bothering her in its pleading for a response. Frenkel and the other five candidates for governor, whose names were pulled out of the hats of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid from June on, will now be just footnotes, former candidates, in the story of the appointment.

If Wisotzka is interested in what is going on in Israel, Flug’s appointment will make her happy; if not for the appointment itself, then at least for what it portends: In the end, after all the failed attempts, the government of Israel can do the right thing.

Netanyahu and Lapid’s functioning in the bank governor affair teaches how dangerous it is to allow two people to determine the fate of a nation. The responsibility of the prime minister and finance minister on this matter is dwarfed by the responsibility of the prime minister and defense minister in more serious matters, from the appointment of the IDF chief of staff all the way to acts of war. The framework of consultations and judgment - before the decision is brought before the cabinet for its stamp of approval - must be broader, more serious.

Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Oren Nachshon
Reuters