Analysis / A Man Missing

The continuing attacks on the accountant general, Yaron Zelekha, come from the most senior levels. Most of Zelekha's colleagues at the Finance Ministry are a party to them, as are Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

All of them are banding together to rein in Zelekha, and to ostracize him.

Another peak in the assault occurred this week, when the heads of the treasury and of the Bank of Israel met with the prime minister to discuss the 2007 budget, and the decision to lower VAT by 1 percent. All of the relevant people were invited to the meeting, apart from one. The accountant general, in a highly declarative step by Hirchson, was not invited. The main points of the 2007 budget were worked out at a meeting at which the second most important department of the treasury, next to the budgetary division, was not represented.

Hirchson's action was interpreted - correctly - as a public slap in the face for Zelekha. However, the public should also consider itself slapped. The public, whose interest it is that discussion of its financial future should be held by the most appropriate professional forum, was sacrificed for the internal personal intrigues at the treasury. It is clear that the finance minister does not like Zelekha and does not trust him.

This is not the place to discuss whether Hirchson is right, or whether Zelekha is right in his claim that his is being persecuted because he is a legitimate opposition to what is happening in the treasury.

Despite this, the treasury is committed to appropriate management; this means in this case that all of the professional departments in the treasury should be involved in central economic decisions. Otherwise, the public is harmed, and Hirchson has no authority to harm the public.