As the list of candidates for Bank of Israel governor continues to grow, one name has been repeatedly mentioned in recent days by senior central bank officials as the person favored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the prestigious job: Professor Eugene Kandel.
Kandel, who serves as head of the National Economic Council and the prime minister's senior economic advisor, has "excellent chances of being appointed governor," according to a Bank of Israel official.
Outgoing Governor Stanley Fischer refused to name the person he would like to see as his replacement, clarifying that he would not be involved in the selection process. There is no doubt, however, that the prime minister will ask for his opinion on the candidate he decides to appoint or on a number of candidates.
The only thing Fischer agreed to say, when asked if his deputy, Dr. Karnit Flug, was an appropriate candidate for governor, was: "I wouldn't have chosen and appointed her as my deputy if I hadn't thought she was suitable for the job."
Prof. Kandel is said to be very close to the prime minister and is considered one of the leading candidate for the job. Yet quite a few names from the top echelon of Israel's economy have been mentioned as candidates in the past few days:
- Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who was appointed by Netanyahu to head a social justice committee following the social unrest in the summer of 2011.
- David Brodet, chairman of Bank Leumi and a former Finance Ministry director-general and head of the Treasury's Budgets Division.
- Aharon Fogel, Migdal chairman and a former Finance Ministry director-general and head of the Treasury's Budgets Division.
- Dr. Karnit Flug, deputy governor of the Bank of Israel, who was appointed by Fischer.
- Prof. Zvi Eckstein, former deputy governor of the Bank of Israel.
- Professor Avi Ben-Bassat, a former senior official at the Bank of Israel and Finance Ministry director-general.
- Galia Maor,
former CEO of Bank Leumi.
Sources in the Finance Ministry have not ruled out the possibility that Netanyahu, who has a habit of appointing foreign Jewish officials or those with American background, like Stanley Fischer and Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, will look into this option as well.
Former Finance Ministry Director-General Shmuel Slavin said that for the sake of economic stability, the selection of the new governor should be done within a very short time.
"The government must not take its time selecting the new governor," he said.