Israeli Economy in Danger, Central Bank Panelist Says After Resignation

A voting member of the Bank of Israel’s monetary committee stepped down and warned that “democracy is in danger” in his country, marking one of the highest-profile departures since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his push to reform the judicial system, Bloomberg News reported. Moshe Hazan, an economics professor who spent more than five years on the rate-setting panel, sent Netanyahu a resignation letter late Sunday, saying he was leaving to become more involved in “public-political activity,” according to a statement from the central bank. Netanyahu’s right-wing government, sworn in last month, has pledged to give politicians greater influence over the appointment of High Court justices and to limit the institution’s oversight of the legislature. Critics including investors and leaders of Israel’s powerful technology sector have expressed concern that the plans to undermine the judiciary will threaten the country’s liberal democracy and business-friendly environment. In an interview with the financial daily Calcalist, Hazan said Israel doesn’t “want to become a banana republic” and interest-rate decisions seemed trivial at a time like this. “The steps the government is expected to take, if they are approved, will do great damage to the independence of both the justice system and the civil service, and in the future to democracy and to the Israeli economy,” he said. Read more.