Netanyahu Meets With Trajtenberg, Flug as Race for Central Bank Chief Heats Up

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is stepping down after more than eight years on the job.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with both Manuel Trajtenberg and Karnit Flug, candidates to take over from Stanley Fischer as governor of the Bank of Israel. Klug, the central bank's deputy governor, is Fischer's preferred candidate.

Netanyahu, who is due to decide over the next few weeks, may also meet with other candidates; the winner would take office on July 1.

Trajtenberg, 62, is the chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee at the Council for Higher Education. Two years ago, he headed the Trajtenberg committee on socioeconomic change that formed after the social protests that summer.

Before that he headed the National Economic Council, part of the Prime Minister’s Office, under both Netanyahu and his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

Flug, 58, has been the Bank of Israel's deputy governor since 2011. Previously, she headed the bank's research department. Fischer is leaving at the end of June after more than eight years on the job.

Netanyahu will make the decision along with Finance Minister Yair Lapid; the prime minister and finance minister normally make the decision together. Lapid recently met with Flug at her request.

Sources say that over a decade ago, Prime Minister Ehud Barak accepted Finance Minister Avraham Shochat's advice to block a candidate, attorney Yaakov Neeman. Schochat reportedly was also against the man Barak eventually tapped, David Klein.

The decision also needs the cabinet's approval, but the cabinet has always accepted the candidate unanimously. Technically, it's the president who appoints the candidate.

Tomer Appelbaum
Daniel Bar-On