Prof. Stanley Fischer
Prof. Stanley FischerIsrael News photo: Flash 90

Professor Stanley Fischer has recently received a series of important honors abroad, culminating with his being named the best central bank governor in the world for 2010 by an important publication. However, he appears to have slipped up Saturday when he gave a speech at the International Monetary Fund convention in Washington, DC, despite the Jewish Sabbath – and he is getting flak over it in Israel.  

David Vazana, head of the Union of Bank of Israel Employees, said the Sabbath speech was a “very grave” matter. He explained: “It is too bad that such a thing was done in front of the nations of the world, who know and revere the Torah of Israel, of Moses, and all of whom respect Judaism – while this makes it appear that we the Jews, ourselves, do not respect the Torah.”

Vazana said that he has great respect for the fact that Fischer left a very successful career abroad and came to Israel, in what he termed “a great act of sanctifying G-d's name.” But the speech on Sabbath is the opposite of that, he said. It is, rather,  a desecration of G-d's Name.

“I expect that he [will] issue an immediate apology as previous governors did when they made mistakes like issuing a statement [on the Sabbath],” Vazana told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew language news. “I have been working in the Bank of Israel for 23 years but I have never seen such a public desecration of G-d's Name,” he stressed.

The chairman of the Knesset's Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), canceled a meeting with Fischer that was scheduled for Sunday to protest the Sabbath speech.

The Bank of Israel's spokesperson refused to respond to the issue.