January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Outgoing governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer said on Wednesday that he is leaving office mainly due to "personal" rather than professional reasons.

In a a press conference held here, Fischer said he believes that he has achieved the goals he set for himself.

"Eight years is a long time. I believe I am leaving the bank in good shape, much better than what it was before I entered office," Fischer said.

Fischer announced on Tuesday that he will retire from his position in June and will not complete his term which is to end in 2015.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked me to continue until the 2013 budget will pass and that's why I have decided to stay until June," Fischer added.

He denied rumors alleging that he might be appointed as the next Finance Minister in Netanyahu's future government.

"I'm going back now to my family in the United States. Israel is my second home, and I'm grateful to have spent eight years in this country." he noted.

As for the Israeli economy, Fischer said that the Bank of Israel acted effectively amid the international crisis, reiterating that the country's biggest challenge is the increase in housing prices.

"The government's biggest challenge ahead is dealing with the high housing prices in Israel. The prices could be decreased by changing the supply and demand chain," he concluded.

He thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in charge of his appointment, amid claims of a deteriorating relationship between the two in local media outlets.

Fischer served in the past as the World Bank's Vice President and chief economist, and later as the International Monetary Fund' s deputy managing director, before becoming the Bank of Israel's governor in May 1, 2005.

There have been rumors in Israeli news outlets of Fischer leaving earlier than expected over financial problems which Israel is facing, including the need to lay out an austerity plan to cope with a high deficit.

The upcoming Israeli government will have 45 days to pass a budget to include tax hikes and budget cuts to cope with the 10.5 billion U.S. dollars deficit.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017