Prof. Yaakov Frenkel, who headed the Bank of Israel from 1991-2000, will return to his old job and replace outgoing Bank Governor Stanley Fischer, who is going back the United States with his social and political agendas he tried to impose on Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s decision to put Frenkel at the helm of the Bank is conditional on the approval of a committee headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Yaakov Turkel. No opposition is expected.
Frenkel won the Israel Prize in economics in 2002 and has been chairman of JP Morgan since 2009. Netanyahu had wanted to give the job to Harvard Prof. Elhanan Helpman, an Israeli, but he refused, as he did seven years ago when the Prime Minister brought Fischer overseas.
“Frenkel brought the American mentality of managing monetary policy to the Bank, which in we estimate also eventually brought the search for a foreign Bank governor like Fischer,” Alpha Platinum Mutual told the Globes business newspaper.
Frenkel stood his ground against populist opinion when he headed the bank 15 years ago.
Fischer has been widely praised for his management, but he also has proven to be an opportunist, taking the job as Governor with a lot of fanfare by making aliyah, only to turn his back and go back to the United States in before the middle of his second term of office. He reportedly would like to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Bank even though his age virtually puts him out of the running.
After Fischer was firmly in the saddle at the Bank, he often used the economy as an excuse to advertise thinly disguised support for a Palestinian Authority state based on all or most of its territorial demands.
He also frequently criticized the Haredi community for not participating more in the job market.
More than a few critics have warned that Fischer is leaving behind him a troubled housing market and that he did not take enough action to bring down the price of housing.