Bank of Israel Governor David Klein says he is not legally obligated to announce a monthly decision on Israel's interest rates. His declaration, made on Wednesday, comes in response to a petition filed by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC), regarding the release of interest rates for May 2001.

Governor Klein has come under much criticism from the market for failing to announce an interest rate decision in May. He blames it on an ongoing strike at the bank, which commenced in February, which has resulted in staff there withholding vital statistics from him.

The Supreme Court is to convene on Thursday to consider the issue.

Klein argues that the Bank of Israel Law from 1954 (on which the governor's responsibilities are based), authorizes the bank and the governor to act in order to realize the goals stipulated by the law, as well as the goals as defined by the government's economic policy.

In addition, Klein says that he is not legally obliged to release a monthly decision on the interest rate, even though that has customarily been the case.

Without sufficient data with which to decide on the interest rates, the governor said he would postpone May's interest rate decision.

The panel of judges considering the case will include Tova Strasberg-Cohen, Eliezer Rivlin, and Edmond Levi.