A new Bank of Israel governor will be named by Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced on Wednesday, following a joint meeting. The position has been vacant for over three months after two successive nominees to replace the former governor, Professor Stanley Fischer, withdrew their nominations.
Dr. Karnit Flug, the bank's deputy governor, has served as acting governor since July 1. Three candidates have been vetted by the Public Service Nominations Committee, headed by former judge Jacob Turkel: the former governor of Argentina's central bank, Professor Mario Blejer; Bank of Israel former Deputy Governor Professor Zvi Eckstein; and former Finance Ministry director-general and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank CEO Victor Medina.
Going into the meeting on Wednesday, Lapid and Netanyahu expressed hope that a decision would be finalized. But the two could not agree on a nominee, and after exiting the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters: "Have a little patience; we will have a governor for the Bank of Israel."
Netanyahu prefers Medina but Lapid has been reluctant to agree because of bad blood between Medina and former Mizrahi-Tefahot chairman and current Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who is one of Lapid's allies and a fellow Yesh Atid MK.
Eckstein, 64, who served as deputy governor under Fischer, is the dean of the School of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and is a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.