Just two days after his appointment was announced, Professor Leo Leiderman on Friday afternoon withdrew his candidacy for the position of governor of the Bank of Israel.
Leiderman told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid that after holding intensive talks with his family in the last two days, he believes that he would be better off to continue his work at Tel Aviv University and at Bank Hapoalim.
Leiderman is the second nominee for governor of the Bank of Israel to withdraw in the same week. On Monday, Professor Jacob Frenkel announced that he would not be taking the job of Bank of Israel chairman. Frenkel decided not to take the job, sources said, due to allegations that he shoplifted an item in Hong Kong several years ago.
The incident occurred in 2006, when Frenkel was held up at Hong Kong's airport after being accused of taking a garment bag from a store in the airport without paying for it. Frenkel has denied any wrongdoing, saying that the incident was a misunderstanding.
In an interview, Frenkel said that he had been in a rush to catch a plane, and had asked a colleague to pay for the item. Hong Kong airport officials closed the case against Frenkel, he said.
The exact reason for Leiderman’s choosing to withdraw is not known, but a Channel 10 News report on Thursday evening said that Leiderman would regularly consult with an astrologer. A source close to Leiderman said the frequent, and sometimes very frequent sessions may have also dealt with numerology.
Leiderman said the consultations were only on personal and family matters, "certainly not on professional and economic matters." Saying there was no need to expand on his answer, he called the consultations a hobby.
Speculations are that Netanyahu and Lapid will now offer the position to Dr. Karnit Flug, who served as the deputy governor under Professor Stanley Fischer. Fischer reportedly backed her as his successor, but Netanyahu opposed the nomination.
Flug had announced on Wednesday that she intends to resign from the bank following the announcement that Leiderman had been nominated as governor.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)