JERUSALEM (Oct. 25)
The Cabinet yesterday approved the appointment of Arnon Gafni, director general of the Finance Ministry, to the post of Governor of the Bank of Israel. At the same time, it rescinded the appointment of Asher Yadlin who was arrested last week on charges of accepting bribes and other illegal acts while chairman of Kupat Holim, the Histadrut sick fund.
Premier Yitzhak Rabin, who proposed Gafni, stressed that his nomination should not be construed as a pre-judgement of guilt on the part of Yadlin who was Rabin’s original choice for the post. He also said it was in no way an attempt to influence the current police investigation of Yadlin and several of his associates.
The Cabinet’s official neutrality in the Yadlin affair was indicated by the fact that Gafni was appointed only after Rabin had asked State Attorney General Aharon Barak whether the police could conclude their investigation by Nov. 1 when the new Governor of the Bank of Israel is scheduled to take office and whether it was possible to name a deputy governor to take charge until Yadlin’s fate is decided. Barak replied in the negative to both questions.
Gafni, 44, a professional economist, is regarded as well qualified for the prestigious and influential post as head of the Bank of Israel. Objections to his appointment were raised last week by Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz, who did not want to lose his key man in the Treasury. But Rabinowitz agreed yesterday to release Gafni from his duties at the Finance Ministry.