Unless Finance Minister Silvan Shalom doesn't come to his senses, within a few days he will be appointing a crony and Likud party hack, Moshe Terry, to one of the most sensitive jobs in the marketplace chairman of the Israel Securities Authority.

Terry has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing. In fact, the state prosecution exonerated him after the police recommended he be tried. But his career has been dogged by various strange affairs.

The incoming ISA chairman, whoever it may be, has his work cut out for him.

He, or she, will have to closely watch the reforms the Securities and Exchange Commission is forcing on the United States after discovering the pervasive corporate corruption, and decide how Israel adapts itself to these changes.

He will have to fight hard to shore up Israel's reporting and disclosure regulations, against the raging opposition of lobbies - of accountants, public companies and institutions.

The ISA chairman will have to minutely check the financial statements of major Israeli corporations, which have decided not to write down the value of certain investments, despite the collapse of their market values.

His job will entail dealing firmly with the most powerful corporations and tycoons in the country, who need more than ever to pretty up their balance sheets in order to improve their image in the eyes of banks and investors alike.

The ISA chairman must lose to time proving that the authority is actively investigating and filing charges against not only malefactor minnows, but also against pillars of the marketplace who have deviated from the straight and narrow.

But first and foremost, the new ISA chairman will have to wrap up the investigation into one of the nastiest frauds to hit the capital market in years what has become known as the Peled-Givony scandal.

After collating all the findings, the ISA chairman will have to decide whether to file charges against the following clientele, whom the ISA's own investigative department arrested a month ago:

• David Haby, the manager of Mashav Refrigeration Industries. Haby, Rafi Peled and Arie Givony stand at the center of the collapsing Peled-Givony group, which consists of Hayl Holdings, Feuchtwanger, Mashav and Iscal. He is suspected of fraudulently obtaining millions of shekels from the companies under his command, and delaying the release of financial statements in order to conceal the companies' condition.

Now, if the new ISA chairman is also a Likud party hack, he will at least enjoy a "home advantage": Haby is also a Likud party hack!, as well as being a personal friend of Israel's president Moshe Katsav, who also belongs to the Likud.

• Tal Jaegerman, financial consultant to the Peled-Givony group. He's the man who built the financial pyramid that crumbled, the man who together with Peled - persuaded the banks to lend the companies hundreds of millions of shekels.

The ISA suspects that Jaegerman transferred tens of millions of shekels from publicly traded companies to his own privately-held companies, without obtaining the permits required under the law for such transfers.

Now, if the new ISA chairman is also a Likud party hack, he won't have any trouble delving into Jaegerman's past: Jaegerman cooked up his spicy little business affairs, which invariably ended in the financial collapse of the companies involved, together with other ex-party people, such as Ivet Lieberman.

• Rafi Peled, formerly Israel's chief of police, also the man at the top of the Peled-Givony pyramid. The ISA suspects that Israel's ex-top cop slipped a couple of million shekels, unreported, into his pockets.

Peled is not a political animal, but he's well known at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's offices, after having served at Sharon's behest as his director-general.

Peled quit, but maintained good relations with the prime minister's people. And when he stepped down, he brought in attorney Dov Weisglass, today the prime minister's director-general, as a partner in Keren Peled Investments, the company through which he started his campaign of takeovers and offerings.

• And let us not forget David Mena and a host of other Likud party figures who served on the boards of the Peled-Givony companies. Most abandoned the ship a moment before it sank.

To sum up, not everybody is surprised at the nomination of Moshe Terry as new chairman of the Israel Securities Authority. Lately, it would seem, lots of Likud hacks have developed a fascination with securities, creating quite a bit of work for the ISA's investigations department.

The only question remaining is what matters more to Finance Minister Silvan Shalom: to appoint a Likud hack as chairman of the ISA ahead of the party primaries, in order to prove to the Likud rank and file that he's got their interests at heart; or to appoint the right person for a tough job, a professional doer whose pristine reputation and squeaky-clean record can bolster the confidence of investors in the capital market, in the financial establishment and in the finance minister.