Finance Ministry D-G Keren Turner-Eyal resigns

Finance Ministry director-general Keren Turner-Eyal resigned on Sunday after reaching a joint decision with Finance Minister Israel Katz, a press release on behalf of the ministry reported. Turner-Eyal will end her role within the next few weeks and will be replaced, temporarily, by Tax Authority head Eran Yaakov.  Katz thanked her for her “years of mutual work [with him] in the ministries of Transportation and Finance, which led to many achievements that influenced every home in Israel.”  She thanked the minister for placing his trust in her and said that she is sure “he will lead a wide economical plan to handle the financial crisis following the COVID-19 outbreak.” Turner-Eyal is the third high-ranking ministry official to quit in the last few months after Finance Ministry budget department head Shaul Meridor and accountant-general Rony Hizkiyahu. Meridor released an open letter in which he slammed Katz for his conduct, warning that “all of Israel’s citizens will pay a steep price” for his actions.  The biggest challenge facing the Finance Ministry is the issue of a state budget. The nation does not have a budget and is still within the 100-day grace period after the government failed to present one, which would have triggered immediate elections. While Blue and White demands that a budget for 2021 be presented, Katz called their demands a “spin” and insisted that his ministry is doing just that.  Katz met with Meridor’s replacement, Yogev Gardos, and the ministry’s attorney-general Asi Masing on Sunday to conclude that the 2021 budget will be presented to the government in December. Katz said that the budget “will give an answer to the need to face the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak as well as the need to get the economy marching again.” Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah offered ironic congratulations to Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “killing all the top branch of the Finance Ministry” when he said that “there is no budget, the economy is collapsing and the talented D-G Katz [himself] appointed says ‘no more’ after only 4 months on the job.” Shelah jabbed Netanyahu, who claimed world leaders call him to learn how to handle COVID-19, when he said that “from across the world they call [Israel] to learn how to do such things.”  Joint List MK Aida Touma-Silman said that “the Finance Ministry is falling apart during the greatest financial 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 running away from the ministry when Katz and Netanyahu are placing their own personal and political interests ahead of the well-being of citizens.”Her fellow party MK Ofer Cassif said that “when even the top brass at the Finance Ministry are placing their keys on the table, I think nobody is left outside the government who can believe it acts in the public interest.”Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz called the policy Katz and Netanyahu lead “a deafening failure” and argued they are killing the economy by closing the entire country “due to politics.”

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