Today, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed Prof. Stanley Fischer's appointment for a further five-year term as Governor of the Bank of Israel. The ceremony took place at the president's residence in Jerusalem.
"This is an exceptional and unusual appointment. You unify everyone. Everyone agreed on your appointment everyone agreeing about an economic decision goodness!" Peres said to Fischer. "You represent not just success, but also an example."
Netanyahu said, "We have a challenge beyond creating centers of knowledge, inventions, knowledge, and achieving peace. We must continue opening the Israeli economy to competition. To that end, the first thing that must happen is that whoever can do so must go out to work. We have a very talented population, but very much not working. In the next two months, we will put forward a national plan for introducing thousands of unemployed people into the workforce. "
In his address at the swearing-in ceremony, Fischer said, "I feel grateful to the government, and particularly to the prime minister, for the confidence placed in me. I continue to feel it an honor and a great privilege to lead the Bank of Israel, and to represent the State of Israel and the Israeli economy around the world. I thank our family and friends who have made life in Israel for Rhoda and me a pleasure, and above all I thank my wife Rhoda who has been my partner in the ups and downs of all the events of the day in the bank and the country, and whose support and love have strengthened me in all these times, as in the forty previous years."
Fischer also spoke about the financial crisis and the market. "This has been the most severe global crisis in 80 years, and as everyone knows, we came through it relatively successfully. Recent data confirm the strength of the Israeli economy."
On executive pay, Fischer said, "It seems that certain salary packages in certain sectors, among others in the banking sector, are indeed too high. However, we must act with the greatest of caution in dealing with this problem, as it is very easy to exaggerate, and cause severe damage to the Israeli economy."
Referring to the new Bank of Israel Law, Fischer said, "The new law substantial limits the governor's power. Why did we propose these new arrangements? Because experience, as well as research, show that, on average, committees arrive at better decisions than individuals. For that to happen, the members of the two committees must be chosen for their professional abilities, and absolutely not on a political basis."
Fischer added some words of concern about education. "The education system is vital for achieving sustainable growth, and the trends in this area are very worrying. We do not have one education system, we have many. There is no core program that ensures that every pupil receives the basic qualifications required for coping in the changing global economy. Our results in PISA and OECD tests arouse concern, and we are falling in the world rankings. At some point, preferably sooner rather than later, we will have to deal with the multiplicity of education systems and their political context, to halt the deterioration in the standard of education, and reverse the trend."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 2, 2010
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