Few Candidates Emerge in Search for Kandel Successor

A number of academics have turned down offer to lead National Economic Council, citing personal or political reasons.

Ofer Vaknin

Eli Groner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, is having a hard time finding a candidate to replace Eugene Kandel as chairman of the National Economic Council, sources have told TheMarker.

A number of academics have turned down the offer citing either personal or political reasons, making the current leading candidate Avi Simhon, associate professor of agricultural economics at The Hebrew University and an adviser to Yuval Steinitz when he was finance minister.

Tomer Appelbaum

Kandel, who is only the second person to hold the job since the council was created in 2006, said a month ago he planned to step down after six years on the job after a replacement is named. The previous chairman, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, is now a Zionist Union Member of Knesset.

If other academic candidates can’t be found, officials are considering tapping a current or former senior government economic official who might be able to compensate for a lack of scholarly credentials with a better knowledge of the workings of the government.

Simhon, 56, is known to have conservative views on economic issues but supports raising the minimum wage.