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Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer to step down in June

January 29, 2013|By Edmund Sanders
  • Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 43rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the five day event runs from Jan. 23-27.
Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, poses for a photograph… (Simon Dawson / Bloomberg )

JERUSALEM -- Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer, who is widely credited with shepherding Israel through the international credit crunch four years ago, said he would resign from his post in June.

Fischer, who was appointed in 2005, gave no reason for his departure, but he had previously hinted that he did not expect to complete his second five-year term, which began in 2010.

Under Fischer, Israel maintained a steady, conservative monetary policy with impressive economic growth and low inflation.

He leaves, however, as Israel faces a $10-billion budget deficit. The previous government disbanded early over its inability to agree on where to make spending cuts and how to raise needed revenue.

Fischer has warned that Israel's international credibility and credit rating could suffer if it does not bring its deficit under control.

Passing a 2013 budget will be the first challenge of the next government, which is expected to be formed in the coming weeks following elections held Jan. 22.

In a statement Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to lead the next government, praised Fischer's contributions.

"His experience, his wisdom and his international connections opened a door to the economies of the world and assisted the Israeli economy in reaching many achievements, during a period of global economic crisis," Netanyahu said.

Opposition leaders, however, said Fischer's departure was a sign of no-confidence.

Fischer "is signaling that he is not ready to be part of the economic chaos and social hell that will prevail after the new government forms," said Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who has vowed to boycott the next coalition government.

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