IMF visit to Israel shrouded in secrecy

By Moti Bassok

An International Monetary Fund delegation's visit to Israel has been shrouded in secrecy apparently because Israel is concerned about the delegation's highly-regarded report. The delegates, who have been in Israel for ten days, met with Finance Minister Silvan Shalom and with the heads of his ministry on Sunday.

The IMF economists have met with senior officials in the private and public sector, and mainly with executives of the technology sector. The aim of the visit is to examine the state of the Israeli economy and report back to the IMF management in Washington.

This Tuesday the mission will meet agiain with Shalom, along with Bank of Israel Governor David Klein.

An IMF delegation visits Israel annually but unlike previous visits, this year the Finance Ministry and central bank have shrouded the visit with the utmost secrecy. It is possible the blackout is due to Israel's concerns about the content of this year's report.

Last week the delegates met for several hours with Klein, who gave a detailed report on the economy. Klein spoke about monetary and fiscal aspects, and reviewed the ramifications of the security situation on the budget.

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