Historical Events

At the end of November 2004 the Bank of Israel marked its fiftieth anniversary. With the establishment of the State of Israel there was need for the creation of a central bank, in line with the situation in every independent state. The establishment of the Bank of Israel became possible only in 1954 following the formulation of recommendations by a special committee regarding the Bank's functions and its organization, and the passing of the Bank of Israel Law by the Knesset. The Bank is a professional, nonpolitical body which today plays a central role in formulating and directing economic policy in various areas. The Bank is responsible for conducting monetary policy, setting the interest rate and attaining the objective of price stability, supervising and regulating the banking system, managing Israel's foreign exchange reserves, monitoring trade in the foreign currency market in Israel, issuing currency, regulating the country's payment systems, and acting as the government's banker. The Governor also serves as economic advisor to the government.

To mark the Bank's jubilee, and in accordance with a decision of the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Emblems, an international conference was held in Jerusalem, similar to events held by other central banks to mark such events. Participants included governors of central banks, senior representatives of international financial institutions, government ministers and senior government officials, as well as members of Israel's academia and business world and leading economists.

The professional part, which took place on 29 November 2004, dealt with the implications of the existence of two main currency blocs, the US$ bloc and the euro bloc, on conducting economic policy in small and medium-sized countries that do not belong to either bloc. Dr. David Klein, Governor of the Bank of Israel, opened the proceedings, and Professor Jacob Frenkel, a past Governor of the Bank, moderated the conference.

Speakers:
  • Jacob Frenkel, Vice-Chairman, AIG, past Governor of Bank of Israel  
  • Leszek Balcerowicz, President, National Bank of Poland  
  • Guillermo Ortiz Martinez, Governor, Bank of Mexico  
  • Jean-Pierre Roth, Chairman, Swiss National Bank  
  • Andrew Crockett, President, JP Morgan Chase International, past General Manager of BIS.  
  • Stanley Fischer, President, Citigroup International, past First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.  
  • Allan Meltzer,Carnegie Mellon University  
  • Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank

  

The lecture by Allan Meltzer was the first in the series of "David Horowitz Lectures, 2004".

Printed copies of the lectures are available.

Proceedings of the International Conference in pdf format are available here.

The Israel Philatelic Service issued a special commemorative stamp to mark the Bank's Jubilee.

The Bank of Israel published a Jubilee Book that incorporates descriptions of major milestones in the history of the Bank, and articles on various economic topics relevant to the Bank of Israel. The Jubilee Book was written and prepared by a team of economists headed by Professor Nissan Leviatan and Professor Haim Barkai.