Israel’s Fischer Chooses Begin, Rabin to Feature on Currency

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer chose former Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin to be featured on new shekel bills that are scheduled to go into circulation in 2012.

The new series of bills will also feature the writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon, winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature, and Rachel Bluwstein, widely known as Rachel the Poetess, the central bank said today in an e-mailed statement from Jerusalem. Fischer’s choices will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

“The governor decided to incorporate two aspects of Israel’s history, the political and the cultural, by depicting to statesmen who signed peace agreements with our neighbors and two outstanding figures from the fields of literature and poetry,” the bank said in the statement.

The Bank of Israel said a year ago that it had withdrawn its proposals for new shekel bills and referred the issue back to an advisory committee. The bank said at the time that it had decided to reconsider, in response to “public reaction,” after local media reported that the central bank had chosen Rabin, Begin, former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and Zionist leader Theodore Herzl.

A bill submitted by Knesset member Dalia Itzik in January proposed that the personalities represented in the new currency include “women and men that contributed significantly to society and the state, including intellectuals, Nobel Prize winners and leaders.”

The new notes, in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 shekels, will incorporate state-of-the art anti-counterfeiting features, the bank said.

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