(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to recommend that Stanley Fischer be appointed next Governor of the Bank of Israel. This was agreed at a meeting between the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Directors-General of their ministries, Yossi Bachar and Ilan Cohen, respectively, who served as the search committee for a suitable candidate. The decision will be submitted to the Bach Committee on Senior Civil Service appointments, the Cabinet and President Moshe Katsav for their approval.

Stanley Fischer is a Jew from the US, who speaks Hebrew. He has had many years of contact with the State of Israel and the Israeli economy, including serving as US administration representative vis-a-vis the Israeli economy’s mid-1980’s stabilization plan. Fischer has also taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Fischer, 61, is today the Vice Chairman of Citigroup, the largest financial corporation in the world, and is considered to be one of the most senior economists in the world. He has previously served First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Prime Minister Sharon and Finance Minister Netanyahu proposed to Fischer a few weeks ago that he emigrate to Israel, where he would be appointed Governor of the Bank of Israel; this morning, Fischer accepted the offer.

Prime Minister Sharon and Finance Minister Netanyahu said that, “Fischer is an economist with a global reputation and the State of Israel will be blessed with his talents, principally in the era of globalization in the economic markets.

The fact that a person like him is willing to cut his ties to Citibank, to immigrate to Israel and serve as Governor of the Bank of Israel, is a wonderful opportunity for the Israeli economy.”

In recent weeks, the search committee also considered other candidates for the position, including the current Governor of the Bank of Israel David Klein. Every candidate was considered a worthy choice for the position. However, after Stanley Fischer agreed this morning to accept the position, it was decided to recommend him as the next Governor.

Prime Minister Sharon telephoned the President Katsav and updated him on the decision.

At the same time, Finance Minister Netanyahu summoned the Bank of Israel Governor Klein and told him of the decision. The Finance Minister thanked the Governor, both personally and on behalf of the Government, for his work since he was appointed and expressed his great appreciation.