Finance Officials' Relations on the Rocks

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and ministry Accountant General Yehoshua (Shuki) Oren have had a falling out, and now meet rarely. Top officials say the tension between the two at meetings is palpable.

Two events apparently led to the change: Oren's decision to appoint his senior deputy to the post of CEO of the state's Inbal insurance company, and Steinitz's objection to Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor being appointed chairwoman.

Oren, once the CEO of Leumi Switzerland, is close to Maor. He had said Steinitz should not have intervened in the matter of Maor's candidacy, and the minister did not appreciate the advice, to put it mildly.

Ministry sources confirmed the two have problems, but said it did not affect matters - such things have occurred in the past, and the two are continuing to work well together on a professional level.