The reelection of Ramzi Gabbay as chairman of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute has left a bitter taste at the Manufacturers Association of Israel, the Export Institute, and at Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett's office. Top sources close to the election said that there was "political drama" behind the scenes when Bennett tried to get former Prime Minister's Office director general Eyal Gabay, who also headed Bennett's coalition negotiations, elected to the post.
The Export Institute's board, which elects the chairman, comprises representatives of the Ministry of the Economy and the Manufacturers Association. Ramzi Gabbay was elected two years ago, and was up for reelection for another two-year term yesterday.
The sources say that Bennett sought to replace Ramzi Gabbay, and told Manufacturers Association president Zvi Oren that he wanted Eyal Gabay to be appointed chairman of the Export Institute. At this point, the versions of events diverge. A Bennett aide said today, "This was a coordinated move by Bennett and Oren, but Oren could not get it passed by the Manufacturers Association, and the story was over. Bennett strongly wanted Eyal Gabay to be appointed, because he is a worthy man."
However, a top Manufacturers Association source said, "There was no coordination over the candidate. The only thing agreed to between Oren and Bennett was that the vote on the appointment of the [Export Institute's] chairman for the next two years would be postponed by a month, to allow the Export Institute's general meeting to be convened to elect a new board, after which the election of a chairman could be held."
Another top Manufacturers Association source said, "Oren has always supported Ramzi Gabbay, because the Manufacturers Association presidency had already recommended him as its candidate, and the claim that Oren acted to get Eyal Gabay elected is not true."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 3, 2013
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