(August 31, 2020 / JNS) The director of the Israeli Treasury’s Budget Department, Shaul Meridor, has announced his resignation, dispatching a blistering letter to his boss, Finance Minister Israel Katz, accusing him of mismanagement “for which Israeli citizens will pay a heavy price in the coming years.”
In the letter, released to the media, Meridor writes: “I have served under many finance ministers—the type of management that is taking place now is something I have never seen. It has become impossible to carry out my job.”
Meridor has served in his current position since November 2017. He was deputy budget director from 2010 to 2013 before taking on other positions in the private and public sectors.
Israel has been operating without a state budget due to a protracted political stalemate. The Knesset passed a law last week that extended the deadline for passing a 2020 budget to Dec. 23.
“At a time when there is no approved state budget, the Finance Ministry and its leader must be especially stringent in leading a responsible economic policy,” writes Meridor, charging that “instead, decision-making is influenced by narrow interests” that are “short term” and carried out while “silencing the professional echelon” and “shooting from the hip.”
In a counter-attack during an interview on Kan public radio on Monday morning, Katz charged that “recently with the possibility of early [parliamentary] elections, Meridor turned to open and blatant political activity against the government.”
He accused the budget director of instigating provocations in internal discussions and leaking information to sabotage government policy.
Shaul is the son of Dan Meridor, a former finance minister and a longtime member of the Likud Party, currently headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in which Katz is a senior figure. The older Meridor bolted the Likud for several years before returning.
Speaking of the son, Katz told Kan that “based on reactions in the [political] opposition, it is clear to whom he [Meridor] belongs. He is following in the footsteps of his father, who was finance minister and resigned.”
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