In the most dramatic of a series of high-profile resignations at the Finance Ministry, Director General Keren Terner-Eyal announced on Sunday, October 11, that she would be stepping down after five months on the job. This is the latest resignation among top economic officials as the country struggles with a recession and social crisis caused by the coronavirus crisis. Terner-Eyal was a personal appointment made by neoliberal Finance Minister Israel Katz when he brought her with him to the ministry, and her departure may indicate that even those who supported the minister all the way can do so no longer.
The ministry gave no reason for the departure. However, a source close to Terner-Eyal told the news program N12 that she complained that “the decisions of the finance ministry are not made in a proper way. There are no professional and thorough discussions. There are only decisions coming from high-up – the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Terner-Eyal’s resignation follows the departure in May of the ministry’s budget chief Shaul Meridor in August. Meridor said then that he was quitting because he believed the government was grossly mishandling the fallout from the coronavirus crisis by making “short-sighted” decisions and ignoring economic norms. He also blamed Katz for “cultivating an atmosphere of terror” in the ministry. A month earlier, former accountant-general Rony Hizkiyahu stepped down.
Following the latest resignation, Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) said, “The Finance Ministry is falling apart during the greatest economic crisis this country has known; there is no budget, there is no real aid. There is no plan on how to exit this situation.” “It is not a coincidence,” she added, “that skilled professionals are fleeing the ministry when Katz and Netanyahu are placing their own personal and political interests ahead of the well-being of citizens.” Her fellow Communist Party leadership member, MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List) said, “when even the top brass at the Finance Ministry are placing their keys on the table, I think nobody outside the government is left who can believe that it acts in the public interest.”