The State of Israel is situated at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East, bounded by Jordan, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea. The nation has a rich history that originated in the pre-biblical period. From being a part of the Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire, and also to the Islamic Caliphate during the 7th century CE.  In the recent days, Israel is the sole Jewish country in the world. The Israeli Shekel that has been the national currency of Israel since 1980 derives its name from the ancient Biblical unit of weight used during the Second Temple period.  

Map of Israel | Source: AS

The Old Israeli Shekel 

The short-lived old Israeli shekel was the nation’s monetary unit between February 24, 1980 and December 31, 1985. It was introduced to replace the Israeli pound and was subdivided into 100 new agorot or agoras. Due to hyperinflation and following the ratification of the stabilization plan of 1985 that kept the inflation manageable, the old shekel was demonetized and was removed from circulation. 

Israel 50 Pounds | 1948 | P-18s | Source: Banknote World Educational

The first old shekel banknotes bear the same design elements as the lira banknotes, except that one zero was dropped from each denomination. However, these paper bills depict a significant personality on the obverse with a landmark in the background. Their watermark reflects an image of the featured person on the obverse. 

Israel 5,000 Sheqalim | 1984 | P-50a | Source: Banknote World Educational

The New Israeli Shekel 

The new shekel is the country’s currency since 1985. It replaced the old shekel, removing three zeros from the old legal tender. In addition, the first series of the new shekel was in denominations of 1 new shekel, 5, 10, 50, 20, 100, and 200 new sheqalim.  

Israel 10 New Sheqalim | 1987 | P-53b | Source: Banknote World Educational

In 1999, the Series B Issues begin to circulate, with brand new security elements. Banknotes from this series bear the design of Naomi and also Meir Eshel, portraying prominent personalities with background images relevant to the depicted persons.  

Modern Issues

Israel 20 New Shekel | 2008 | P-64 | Polymer

In 2014, the Third Series begins to circulate. It highlights Hebrew poets whose life stories, activities, and works connect with the nation’s rebirth. The design of these banknotes comes from Ms. Osnat Eshel and also include a range of advanced security elements. Such as microperf, SPARK features, microprinting, holographic stripes, electrotype watermarks, and windowed security threads with demetallized elements.  

Israel 200 New Shekels | 2020 | P-68b | Source: Banknote World Educational

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