Fischer the Bully

If anyone had any lingering doubts about the Stanley Fischer's international status, the recent articles citing him as a serious candidate for president of the World Bank - if and when Paul Wolfowitz is forced to quit - should have removed them.

The Wall Street Journal dedicated a long, prominent piece to Wolfowitz, in which it it presented Fischer, the governor of the Bank of Israel, as likely to replace him.
The confused, anxious reactions of Israeli capital markets to news that Fischer may be leaving proves that he indeed is a key international figure, and that Israel is lucky to have him representing our interests around the world.

But that is also what makes Fischer's conduct so disappointing.

He has continued to make it known that Israel should be grateful for enjoying his services. So grateful, that we should give in to his demands - otherwise he just might quit and cause serious damage to our economy.

His dominance has dealt him a strong hand, and has forced the cabinet to bend to his wishes. This included his demands with respect to the salaries of the employees of the central bank, even after the bank's management was caught providing false information about employee wages for years.

One can understand Fischer for prefering the presidency of the World Bank, one of the most interesting and important economic posts in the world. But it is impossible not to be disappointed by the fact that this will be yet another opportunity, among many, for Fischer to present his position as governor as being only conditional - until the cabinet accepts his demands.

It is indeed conditional, since someone in his position can set conditions.

Israel will suffer damage if Fischer leaves. But he has to decide once and for all: stay or go. Don't turn Wolfowitz's disgrace into another lever to use against the State of Israel.