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September 2, 2020 9:52 am

Outgoing Israeli Budget Director Slams Finance Minister for ‘Atmosphere of Terror’

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Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz. Photo: Reuters/Pool/Sebastian Scheiner. – Shaul Meridor, who announced his resignation as head of the Israeli Finance Ministry’s Budget Department at the beginning of the week, granted his first media interview on Tuesday, blasting Finance Minister Israel Katz for “instilling an atmosphere of terror.”

“You just can’t [work] when, from the moment that someone in the room says something that doesn’t match what the minister wants, [Katz would] threaten him [and] start shouting at him,” Meridor told Channel 12.

“We would be presenting him with professional material and he wouldn’t be paying any attention; he’d be looking at his phone or suddenly talking about something else,” the outgoing Budget Department director maintained.

He further accused Katz of promoting a fiscal policy that “breaks every possible norm in the budgetary world.”

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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 December 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,” Meridor wrote in his resignation letter, 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 to the contents of the letter, Katz told Kan public radio on Monday morning, that “recently, with the possibility of early [parliamentary] elections, Meridor turned to open and blatant political activity against the government.”

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