New Israeli bills to feature famous women of the arts

The new Israeli 20-shekel and 100-shekel bills feature Rachel and writer Leah Goldberg, both beloved national figures. 

By: Batya Jerenberg

The new Israeli NIS 20 and NIS 100 banknotes will be distributed to the public via banks and cash machines starting next week, the Bank of Israel announced Thursday. Karnit Flug, the Governor of the Bank of Israel, will first present the new bills to President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday at an event at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The new NIS 20 banknote is red and features the portrait of Rachel Bluwstein (1890-1931), famous in Israel as Rachel the Poetess. Although most of her poems were written only in the final six years of her life, she is considered by many to be the greatest of all Hebrew poets. The back of the note features a typical view of the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee, which is where she lived at the end of her life and where she is buried.

The new NIS 100 banknote is orange and features the portrait of Leah Goldberg (1911-1970), one of Israel’s leading literary figures – a poet, author, playwright, teacher, literary translator and researcher. A picture of deer appears on the back of the note, which refers to a famous children’s book that she wrote.

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To make it easier for the blind to tell them apart, there is a pair of lines located on the lower right and lower left margins of the NIS 20 note, while the NIS 100 note has three pairs of lines. The NIS 20 bill is also shorter, 129 mm in length, vs. its NIS100 counterpart at 143 mm.

Both notes will feature technologically advanced security features to help prevent counterfeiting. They include watermarks, pinholes and a complete poem in a tiny text embedded in the notes’ design. To acquaint the Israeli public with all the security features contained in the new notes, the Bank of Israel is running a public awareness campaign through media outlets, titled “It’s easy to check that it’s secure”.

The old banknotes will slowly but surely be removed from circulation, but they will still be legal tender for several years.