The Bank of Israel - Vol. 1

By Haim Barkai; Nissan Liviatan | Go to book overview

wrote volume 1, which deals with the monetary history of Israel during these fifty years and beyond. This volume divides the fifty-year interval into three main periods: from the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 (by Haim Barkai), the great inflation era 1973–85 (jointly by Haim Barkai and Nissan Liviatan), and developments from the 1985 stabilization to the present day (by Nissan Liviatan). This volume includes also an overview which was written jointly by the two authors.

We devoted volume 2 to the investigation of several important issues that deserve additional clarification. Nathan Sussman performs an econometric evaluation of the bank’s reaction function, Michael Michaely analyzes the process of liberalizing Israel’s foreign-exchange market, Jacob Paroush surveys the history of banking supervision in Israel, and Oved Yosha (who, to our deep regret, died during the course of the project) outlined the research on competition and concentration in the banking sector. The actual research on this subject was carried out by his colleagues, Sharon Blei and Yishay Yafeh. Nachum Gross reports on a series of interviews that he conducted with top officials of the Bank of Israel, including governors, directors of the Research Department, and other people in key positions (excluding incumbents). We take this opportunity to thank them all for their cooperation.

In this research project, we benefited from the insights and experience of many people. Let us mention just a few: David Kochav, Eliezer Sheffer, Ephraim Kleiman, Karnit Flug, Yossi Djivre, Ami Barnea, Yaacov Lavi, Gideon Shur, Meir Sokoler, Zvi Eckstein, and Zvi Herkowitz. We also wish to thank the discussants of an early version of the book at a conference that we held in December 2003—Assaf Razin, Michel Strawczynski, Alise Brezis, David Elkayam, Efraim Sadka, Yoav Friedman, Dani Tsiddon, Rafi Melnick, Nadav Halevi, and Avi Tiomkin—and the organizer of the conference, Sigi Tsur.

The Bank of Israel offered us all the assistance that we needed: free access to its database and all technical help in research and processing of the data. We thank our research assistants, Yevgenia Dechter and Asaf Nagar, who did an excellent job.

The book was originally written in English (except for the chapter by Paroush) and then was translated into Hebrew for the Hebrew edition of the book, which was published by the Bank of Israel in November 2004. This required a tremendous effort on the part of the Publications Unit of the bank, under the remarkable leadership of Moshe (Bari) Bar-Natan. In the preparation of the present revised edition, we benefited greatly from the excellent editing of Naftali Greenwood, who not only helped us with English language usage but also helped in improving the clarity of the presentation in the text.

It goes without saying that all the views expressed in this book are those of the authors; the Bank of Israel bears no responsibility for anything written in this book. We wish to thank David Klein, Governor of the Bank of Israel as this book was being prepared for publication, for granting us complete academic freedom.

It is with deep sorrow that I report the death of Professor Haim Barkai, my coeditor and close friend, in May 2006.

Nissan Liviatan Jerusalem

-viii-

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