Treasury Chief Haim Shani Quits Over Short Shrift From Steinitz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly rejects Shani's suggested methods for comprehensively addressing the issues raised by the growing protest movements.

Finance Ministry Director General Haim Shani shocked the country's leadership yesterday with the announcement he would be leaving the ministry over differences of opinion.

"I've had enough," Shani said.

Tomer Appelbaum

Shani is resigning after a string of conflicts with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reportedly rejected Shani's suggested methods for comprehensively addressing the issues raised by the growing protest movements.

The leading candidate to replace Shani is reportedly Moshe Terry, who was Israel Securities Authority chairman up until three years ago.

The ministers learned about Shani's resignation during the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday. This comes after a string of top treasury officials have resigned over the past months, including Tax Authority chairman Yehuda Nasradishi, Accountant General Shuki Oren, Budgets Director head Udi Nissan and his deputy Rotem Peleg.

Shani had chaired a committee addressing economic concentration in partnership with Prime Minister's Bureau Director General Eyal Gabbai, who also recently announced his departure. It's not clear whether that committee will finish its interim report, or who will prepare its final report.

"Long-time differences of opinion over crucial matters and over how the treasury is managed led me to this difficult decision. Unfortunately, my desire to use my business experience to contribute to the nation cannot be exploited under these conditions," Shani wrote in his resignation letter to Steinitz, who appointed him two years ago.

Shani ultimately resigned after learning Saturday that Steinitz had invited Prof. Eytan Sheshinski to chair a committee to examine the well-being of Israel's middle class.

Steinitz had not informing Shani, even though this is a field under his management, and even though Shani had proposed launching panels to address these very issues, in consultation with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer.

Several months ago, Shani had proposed setting up a committee to address the high housing prices, but Steinitz rejected his suggestion.