Treasury: PMO Violating the Law

Senior treasury officials took the exceptional step of sending Olmert a harsh letter yesterday. The officials, including Ariav, budgets director Ran Belinkov and Capital Markets Commissioner Yadin Antebi, wrote to Ra'anan Dinur, director general of the PMO, and to the head of the National Economic Council, Manuel Trajtenberg, saying Dinur and Trajtenberg are acting contrary to the law and outside their authority, and behind the backs of the treasury. "From reading the newspapers and the Finance Committee meeting, we have learned the following things: Seemingly there are negotiations going on between the prime minister's aides and representatives of the Histadrut and employers, and possibly even with other bodies, over what is called the safety net for pension savings, and on the matter of far-reaching changes in the economic plan." They also said other issues were under discussion without their knowledge, such as aid for the high-tech branch.

The officials said such steps were the treasury's responsibility, and not the PMO's. They also said the cabinet had approved their proposals, which also enjoyed wide support in the Knesset and from the Bank of Israel. "Such negotiations are not coordinated with us, and are run by those who are not authorized to make commitments on behalf of the state. The ideas raised are not budgeted," wrote the Finance Ministry officials.