Peres with Fischer at second term ceremony
Peres with Fischer at second term ceremonyMoshe Milner, GPO

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is being promoted by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next president of Israel, according to the Calcalist business newspaper, but the Bank says it is a baseless rumor.

The office of the Prime Minister did not comment on the report.

The term of President Shimon Peres expires in 2014, when he will be 90 years old. 

Fischer is a highly acclaimed economist, and his previous experience includes being a professor at Stanford University, chief economist at the World Bank and deputy director of the CitiGroup financial conglomerate before his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu was personally responsible for bringing Fischer to Israel as a new immigrant in 2005 to take over the helm at the Bank of Israel.

He now is serving his second term as Bank Governor and has been itching for a different post. Fischer made an unsuccessful attempt last year to become head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As President, he would enhance Israel’s reputation in the business community, but his image, both in and outside of Israel, is that of an American, which would pose an obstacle among Israelis.

In addition, Knesset Speaker and senior Likud party Knesset Member Reuven Rivlin is known to be a candidate to succeed President Peres. Fischer’s political views are thought to be very dovish towards the Palestinian Authority and unsympathetic to a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who now is Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, previously has been rumored as being a candidate for the prestigious position.