Israeli New Shekel - Banknotes


Beginning on 4 September 1985, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, and 50 new shekalim. The 1 new shekalim note followed on 8 May 1986, and the 20 new shekalim note issued on 12 April 1988 completed the family. The 1, 5 and 10 new shekel notes used the same basic designs as the earlier 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 old shekel notes but with the denominations altered.

In 1986, 100 new shekel notes were introduced, followed by 200 new shekel notes in 1991. The 1, 5 and 10 new shekel notes were later replaced by coins. A plan to issue a 500 shekel banknote, carrying the portrait of Yitzhak Rabin, was announced shortly after Rabin's assassination in 1995. However, due to low inflation rates, there was no need for such a banknote, and it was never issued. However, in February 2008 the Bank of Israel announced that the planning of an entirely new series of banknotes has started, and that the new series, to be issued in 2010, will most probably include a 500 shekel banknote as well. Though still not decided officially, the new series is likely to consist of polymer notes only. In December 2009 the Bank of Israel announced a new series to be issued in 2012, which would bear the images of Theodore Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. The plan to issue a 500 shekel note was officially abandoned. The announcement was publicly criticized and a few days later, the governor of the Bank of Israel announced that the issue be reconsidered.

The committee proposed that the new series would bear the portraits of prominent Hebrew poets, among them Rachel, Shaul Tchernichovsky, Leah Goldberg and Nathan Alterman. In December 2010, it was announced that the series would feature portraits of Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Rachel and Shmuel Yosef Agnon. When Begin's family opposed the decision, the committee's original proposal was readopted.

In April 2011, it was reported that new coins would be minted that would use less metal and thus lower costs. Counterfeiting would also be harder. The Bank of Israel is considering dropping the word "new" on the planned coins series. If approved, this would be the first replacement of all coins since the introduction of the new shekel coins in September 1985.

Notes currently in circulation are:

Second Series of the New shekel
Value Dimensions Colour Obverse Reverse
20 New shekel 71x 138 mm Green Moshe Sharett Jewish volunteers in World War II; a watchtower, commemorating tower and stockade settlements
50 New shekel Purple Shmuel Yosef Agnon Agnon's notebook, pen and glasses, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount
100 New shekel Brown Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Peki'in Synagogue
200 New shekel Red Zalman Shazar a street in Safed and text from Shazar's essay about Safed

The 20 shekel banknote is the first, as of April 2008, to be made of polypropylene, a polymer substrate, which is superior to the current paper note with a circulation life of a few months only. The polymer note is printed by Orell Fuessli Security Printing of Z├╝rich, Switzerland. 1.8 million of the new banknotes were printed with the writing "60 years of the State of Israel" (in Hebrew), in red ink.

  • Face of the two 20 shekel notes, left one is paper and the right one is made of polypropylene.

  • Back of the two 20 shekel note, left one is paper and the right one is made of polypropylene.
    The additional red text on the polypropylene note reads "60 Years to the State of Israel". It was only featured in a limited run, close to the mentioned celebration, it is not present on a majority of notes.

Read more about this topic:  Israeli New Shekel

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