Leo Leiderman Withdraws Candidacy for Next Bank of Israel Governor

After Netanyahu and Lapid's first choice, Jacob Frenkel, dropped his candidacy over shoplifting allegations, their second pick announces he would rather keep his jobs at Tel Aviv University and Bank Hapoalim.

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Professor Leo Leiderman, who was appointed as the next Bank of Israel governor on Wednesday, announced Friday that he has withdrawn his candidacy for the post.

Leiderman was tapped by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid after their first pick for the position, Jacob Frenkel, withdrew his candidacy last week after an investigation was opened into an alleged 2006 shoplifting affair at an Hong Kong airport.

Leiderman notified Netanyahu and Lapid on Friday that he is withdrawing his candidacy, saying that after discussions with his family, he would rather continue working as a private citizen at Tel Aviv University and Bank Hapoalim.

Leiderman was meant to appear before the Turkel Committee, the advisory committee on senior appointments, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, on Sunday afternoon. Unlike Frenkel’s appointment, which had put the committee in an embarrassing situation, Leiderman's appointment was expected to pass smoothly.

Following Liederman's withdrawal, at the top of the list of possible candidates for the job is Dr. Karnit Flug, who has been deputy governor of the Bank of Israel for the past three and a quarter years and is now serving as interim governor. Flug was Fischer’s choice for successor. After Netanyahu and Lapid announced that Liederman was tapped for the job, on Wednesday Flug announced she would resign from the Bank of Israel within a month.

Leiderman, 61, was born in Argentina and made aliyah at the age of 17. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University and a second degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago. He wrote his Ph.D thesis under the guidance of Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Robert Lucas. 

In the last 10 years, he has been Bank Hapoalim's main macro-economic adviser, dealing mainly with Israeli and global macroeconomic evaluations and forecasts.  

Leo Leiderman: Room for BoI intervention.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

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