Cabinet Approves Karnit Flug as First Woman to Lead Israel's Central Bank

Business as usual for the monetary committee, which meets Monday to set November's base interest rate.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved the appointment of Karnit Flug as the first female governor of the Bank of Israel.

Flug served as deputy governor of the central bank under Stanley Fischer, who left office in June, and has been acting governor of the bank since then.

Following a tortuous process in which five other leading candidates were eliminated, cabinet approval is expected to be unanimous. Flug's nomination was approved last week by the Turkel Committee, which reviews senior official appointments. Formally, after the cabinet approves the choice, it becomes a recommendation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to President Shimon Peres to appoint Flug for a five-year term. The formal installation ceremony is expected to take place this week at the President's Residence.

On Monday, Flug will chair a meeting of the central bank's monetary committee at which November's base interest rate will be debated. She will do so, however, in her capacity as deputy governor. Expectations are that the committee will leave the rate unchanged at 1 percent, after the October rate was lowered by a quarter percentage point.

Monday's meeting will be the last for Barry Topf, who is senior adviser to the governor and one of three representatives from the central bank on the six-member committee. He is leaving the Bank of Israel and will be replaced on the committee by Nathan Sussman, the head of the bank's research department.

Reuters