| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Bank of Israel denies report its governor will forfeit seeking new term

The Bank of Israel disputed a story that Governor Amir Yaron will announce his intention not to run for a second term on Monday, stating that he would make his choice in September-October.

Earlier, Army Radio, one of Israel’s two main radio networks, indicated that Yaron will announce his decision not to run for re-election on Monday. His current five-year term ends at the end of the year.

“Army Radio’s story this morning that the governor will make his choice on extending his tenure today is inaccurate. “As he has previously stated, the governor will make his decision on extending his term during the (Jewish) holiday season,” the Bank of Israel said.

A spokesperson for the central bank did not immediately respond when asked what Yaron’s decision was.

The issue of whether he would seek or be reappointed to a second term has been looming over financial markets for months. Yaron has said he would make his decision around the Jewish high holy days, a three-week period which runs from Sept. 16 through Oct. 7.

Yaron has not tipped his hand either way but he has been critical of the economic impact of a plan by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul Israel’s judicial system. Yaron has also clashed with lawmakers over sharp interest rate increases since April 2022 that have boosted bank profits while hurting mortgage holders.

Army Radio also reported, without citing sources, that Netanyahu would choose economist Leo Leiderman to replace Yaron.

Netanyahu’s office declined to comment.

Leiderman, a former professor of Yaron, in 2013 was chosen by Netanyahu to replace outgoing governor Stanley Fischer but he withdrew his candidacy.

He told Reuters that he has not been approached for the central bank governor’s role and wants to stay in his positions as economist at Bank Hapoalim and Tel Aviv University.

“I strongly recommend the government to nominate again Professor Amir Yaron for a second term as governor of the Bank of Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu in 2018 chose Israeli-born Yaron, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, to head Israel’s central bank, citing the need for an expert on the global economy.

Yaron succeeded Karnit Flug, who opted not to seek a second term.

Later on Monday, Yaron and the monetary policy committee will decide on interest rates. A Reuters poll showed 15 of 16 economists expect the benchmark rate to stay at 4.75 percent for a second straight meeting in the wake of the inflation rate easing to 3.3 percent in July.

In early trading, the shekel was 0.3 percent weaker at a 3.805 rate versus the dollar, its weakest level since March 2020.

  • alarabiya