Cabinet approves appointment of new Central Bureau of Statistics head

As the new CBS chief, Yaron Felus will provide data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation in Israel

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with the incoming head of the Central Bureau of Statistics Prof. Yaron Felus, April 30, 2023. (Courtesy/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with the incoming head of the Central Bureau of Statistics Prof. Yaron Felus, April 30, 2023. (Courtesy/GPO)

The government on Sunday approved the appointment of Prof. Yaron Felus as the new head of the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The cabinet, at its weekly meeting on Sunday, cleared the appointment of Felus, 55, who will also serve as chief statistician of the statistics bureau, after a search committee set up by the Prime Minister’s Office unanimously selected him among 13 candidates earlier this month. The permanent position of chief statistician has been empty for over a year since the retirement of Prof. Danny Pfeffermann.

Following the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Felus and wished him success, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The appointment comes after reports earlier this year alleged that Netanyahu had attempted and failed to place a confidant at the head of the organization. Netanyahu reportedly sought to appoint Yossi Shelley, the director of the Prime Monister’s Office, as chief statistician, the Kan public broadcaster reported, but backed away after the plan became public.

The CBS is an autonomous unit within the Prime Minister’s Office, which describes itself as an “apolitical, independent and professional” body and prides itself on its reliability and credibility. Its responsibilities include determining the consumer price index, releasing statistical data analysis on unemployment figures and economic growth rates. These metrics, published monthly and quarterly, are essential to formulating and measuring public policy.

Felus, who holds a bachelors’ degree in electrical and computer engineering from Ben Gurion University and a master’s in science, has for the past two years served as the CEO of tech incubator Visint Labs. Before that, he was the chief scientist and manager of the R&D division at the Survey of Israel, the government agency for mapping, geodesy and geomapping, where he was responsible for the development of land information systems and the national real estate database.

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