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Former BOI Governor Jacob Frenkel Condemns Judicial Reform Plan

Jacob Frenkel

Jacob Frenkel (Tel Aviv University)

Jacob Frenkel, a former governor of the Bank of Israel, lashed out at the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemned its proposed judicial reform plan at a demonstration against the reforms in Tel Aviv Saturday night. Frenkel and fellow former governor of the Bank of Israel Karnit Flug previously expressed such sentiments writing in an op-ed that the judicial reform plan would “deal a severe blow to the economy and its citizens.”

Massive protests have rocked Israel over the past two months, ever since Justice Minister Yariv Levin revealed the government’s plans to alter the nature of Israel’s judicial system. The government’s judicial reform plan would greatly curtail the power of Israel’s Supreme Court to nullify legislation passed by the Knesset and also limit the authority of Israel’s attorney general. The opposition charges this would harm Israel’s democracy, eroding foreign confidence in the country and hurting its economy. And this is why the country is now on the brink of what some are describing as the biggest societal clash in Israel’s history.

“I worked with Rabin, with Peres, and after that I worked with Benjamin Netanyahu,” said Jacob Frenkel. “I worked with Arik Sharon, Ehud Barak, and Olmert. All this gallery of politicians never knew whether I voted for them, and not one of them asked. For all of them, I was a professional committed to the law, to the economy, and to the state.

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“When I started out 30 years ago, it was impossible to recruit investors. There was inflation and so investors didn’t want to invest. What a long way we have come to becoming the startup nation!” he said warning that Israel must not “take the risk of losing our important human resource.”

“We have so much to lose. All the rating agencies, the investors, economists in Israel and around the world, are warning us of the danger we face,” he added.”

Jacob Frenkel also addressed Benjamin Netanyahu directly saying, “Only you have the power to prevent a slide into the abyss. Stop the craziness now and recalculate the route.”

Prof. Jacob Frenkel is Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International and a member of the J.P. Morgan International Council. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Group of Thirty (G-30) which is a private, nonprofit, Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs. Prof. Frenkel served from 2001 to 2011 as Chairman and CEO of the G-30, from 2004 to 2009 as Vice Chairman of American International Group, Inc., and from 2000 to 2004 as Chairman of Merrill Lynch International, as well as Chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Sovereign Advisory and Global Financial Institutions Groups. Between 1991 and 2000 he served two terms as the Governor of the Bank of Israel. He is credited with reducing inflation in Israel and achieving price stability, liberalizing Israel’s financial markets, removing foreign exchange controls, and integrating the Israeli economy into the global financial system.



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