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Lapid: PM has nothing against Flug
Day after appointment to BOI chief, Dr. Flug hits ground running, says she 'feeling good'. Meanwhile, reports shed light on how, when Netanyahu eventually changed mind, after Flug gave impressive presentation, Fischer beseeched him: 'Appoint her anyway, she is better than rest'

"I'm feeling good," Dr. Karnit Flug told Ynet with a smile as she left her home in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem neighborhood Monday morning, a day after she was appointed to head the Bank of Israel.

 

Meanwhile, in an interview to Kol Israel radio, Finance Minister Yair Lapid shed light on the drawn out and troubled process of her appointment, saying he doesn’t believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "had something against her."

 

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Following her appointment, Lapid addressed the selection process, calling it "a disaster." In an interview Monday, the finance minister elaborated on the process saying, "Nobody can pretend that this was process was well done. In the end, we reached a result which everyone agrees is the right and best solution. It is no secret that she was my choice from day one."

 


Dr. Flug en route to BOI for first day (Photo: Eli Mandelbaum)

 

Lapid also commented on Netanyahu's reluctance to appoint Flug to the role, despite the fact that her predecessor, Prof. Stanley Fischer, had named her to replace him. "I don't think he had something against her, I think there were other options and a long discussion was held. If at the end of the process you reach the right result, then it means we reached the right decision, but only after exhausting every possible option."

 

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Flug on her way to work, Monday. Video: Eli Mandelbaum

 

Yedioth Ahronoth revealed Monday how and when the prime minister eventually decided to offer Flug the role. According to the report, on Thursday the two met when Flug arrived at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund Committee to deliver a presentation.

 

At the beginning of the meeting, which was scheduled a number of weeks in advance, the two shook hands warmly and Flug continued to deliver what the report calls an impressive lecture. At the conclusion of her review, Netanyahu offered her the role. "What would you say if I were to offer you the job of Bank of Israel governor?" Netanyahu reportedly asked a surprised Flug. Immediately afterwards, Netanyahu reportedly called Lapid and informed him he had changed his mind about Flug. 

 

Yedioth further reported that the final call might have been made by former BOI governor Stanley Fischer. "Appoint her anyway," he reportedly said in a conversation with Netanyahu not long ago, "she will agree and she is better than all of your other candidates."

 

Happy and proud

Despite initially being rejected for the role, Dr. Flug, 58, was chosen over Prof. Mario Blejer, Prof. Zvi Eckstein, Victor Medina and Michal Abadi-Boiangiu, and is the first woman to serve as Israel's BOI governor.

 

After receiving the news of her appointment, Flug said: "The Israeli market and the Bank of Israel face no small amount of challenges which need to be addressed in the coming years. I am sure that together with (the BOI's) dedicated staff we will succeed in moving forward."

 

Her family praised her appointment, her mother Doratha said: "The appointment is truly a certificate of merit for her work. I'm very excited and it is certainly a good feeling. I can only hope she will know how to enjoy her work. But I know she is the most qualified person for this job."

 

Anat Flug Levin, the new governor's sister added that "We are very happy and proud. The top economist (Stanley Fischer) thought she was suitable, so of course we agreed."

 

 

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