Finance Minister Accuses Ex-top Treasury Official of Seeking to Overthrow Netanyahu

Yisrael Katz accused newly resigned Shaul Meridor, who served as the head of the Finance Ministry budget division, of 'incessantly leaking information' and cooperating with the opposition

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Israeli Finance Minister Yisrael Katz speaks while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on, during a factory visit in Beit Shemesh, Israel, August 12, 2020.
Israeli Finance Minister Yisrael Katz speaks while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on, during a factory visit in Beit Shemesh, Israel, August 12, 2020.Credit: Amit Shabi/Pool
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Haaretz

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz slammed on Monday the treasury’s budget chief, who resigned the previous day, accusing him of joining the opposition out of desire to overthrow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Announcing his resignation on Sunday, Shaul Meridor, the head of the Finance Ministry’s budget division, told Katz in a letter, “You do not enable me or the other public servants in the various divisions of the Finance Ministry and other ministries to do what we know how to do – to formulate, propose, analyze and critique policy measures.”

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In an interview with Kan public broadcaster, Katz said: "Recently, against the background of the possibility of an early election, Meridor turned to blatant and overt political activity against the government," adding that "he has returned to his family roots of hostility and hatred toward Netanyahu and Likud," referring to his Meridor's father, former minister and Likud member Dan Meridor.

Katz accused Meridor of maintaining "constant contact with various political sources," blasting him for "cooperating with the opposition" and that he was behind "countless defamatory media briefings."

Shaul Meridor gives a lecture at a conference in Tel Aviv, November 2019.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Katz also blamed Meridor of "triggering provocations and creating a grim atmosphere while incessantly leaking [information]. Under these circumstances I lost faith in him. I initiated a process to oust him," said Katz.

The minister and Likud member accused Meridor of wanting to "overthrow the prime minister and harm the government," adding that "the previous finance minister also acted to oust him."

Meridor has previously clashed with Netanyahu, especially over the prime minister’s plan to give all Israelis a grant of 750 shekels ($223) amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Meridor was quoted as having said during an internal discussion before the grant was decided upon that it was a terrible, populist decision resembling the kind of economic decisions made in Venezuela.

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