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UPDATE 1 – Israeli cabinet approves Amir Yaron as head of central bank



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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Amir Yaron, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, looks set to be the next governor of Israel's central bank after the Israeli cabinet approved his nomination on Sunday.

The final decision comes from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is expected to back the Israeli-backed candidacy of Yaron.

The economist is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's choice for the post and would succeed Karnit Flug, whose five-year term ended last week.

Yaron has lived in the United States for two decades. He canceled a special check panel in early November and would be sworn in on Dec. 24, the Bank of Israel said in a separate statement.

Adjunct Governor Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg is currently the acting governor and will lead the monetary policy committee's meeting on interest rates on November 26.

"I am aware of the heavy responsibility placed on my shoulders and will do everything in my power to strengthen the strength and continued growth of the Israeli economy," Yaron, 54, said in a statement.

"I am excited to return to Israel after the years I spent in the United States, pursuing my academic work, and I see this position as the pinnacle of my professional career."

With inflation now within the government's target of 1 to 3 percent, central bank policymakers are expected to start raising interest rates in the first quarter of 2019. (Reporting by Steven Scheer Editing of Tova Cohen and Susan Fenton)

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