Sep.21, 2012 | 11:12 AM–Over the course of an illustrious international career at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and in academia, Prof. Stanley Fischer managed to rub elbows with plenty of influential bigwigs. But his main source of pride and satisfaction in recent years has been his inclusion in the top rank of Israeli officials known as Segel Aleph, which also includes the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, the police commissioner and the Supreme Court president, among others.
This is the roster of people who occupy the front row at celebrations and memorials. It is also the roster of people who are at the center of decision making, whether on security, social, judicial or economic issues. This is the roster of people in whose hands the fate of Israel is placed for a period of several years. And Israel’s fate, while always interesting, is never self-evident.
Fischer is our most American Israeli, and the most Israeli of Americans (although he was actually born in Northern Rhodesia). He has now been with us for seven and a half years as governor of the Bank of Israel. For a moment – a year ago – he came close to leaving, when the possibility arose that he might be appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund. But that post was ruled out because of his age (69).
It could be that in the international arena, he will never again be offered a job commensurate with his stature. But his thinking is flexible enough to allow him to operate in this arena by other means. His current dream is to serve as the Jewish state’s foreign minister.
His success as the foreign minister of Israel’s economic policy at several crisis points in recent years may have bolstered his belief that he can contribute not only to the economy, but also to dialogue with neighboring countries and on the world stage. His experience, connections, wisdom and familiarity with the international arena are major assets that enhance the possibility of his being appointed, should whoever heads the next government want a significant and successful foreign minister. But the possibility that Fischer could overshadow the prime minister who appoints him to the post decreases his chances of realizing his dream.
During all his years here, Fischer was very careful to uphold protocol. He rarely attacked the government, as several of his predecessors did. It is hard to know whether this is due to gratitude toward those who appointed him (Ariel Sharon in the first term, Benjamin Netanyahu in the second ), the heaviness of the responsibility on his shoulders, or just personal style…Read More>>