Portrait of early 20th century poet on new Israel 50-shekel note sparks call for boycott

Controversy over Russian-born Hebrew writer Shaul Tchernichovsky
Published : 10/05/14
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Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi said the use of a portrait of poet Shaul Tchernichovsky on the face of the new 50-shekel notes is “an outrage” and he called for a boycott of the notes.

Ben-Artzi said Tchernichovsky was “a symbol of assimilation, of assimilation ideology,” according to a Sept. 26 article published in the www.timesofisrael.com.

The poet, born in 1875, was said to have had a daughter, Isolda, with Russian-born Christian Melania Karlova. Ben-Artzi is the estranged brother of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara, according to the article.

The note will begin showing up in circulation later in 2014, according to the Bank of Israel.

The face of the note features a portrait of Tchernichovsky along with images of citrus fruit and leaves.

Tchernichovsky’s poem, “Oh, My Land, My Homeland,” was the inspiration for the face design. The poem contains the words “the bouquet of spring orchards.”

The back design shows capitals of Corinthian columns in reference to parts of the poet’s compositions and his translation of ancient Greek literature.

In addition to a new design, the 50-shekel notes will have a new background color — green. The color of the current design is a deep purple

New anticounterfeiting features added to the new design include the use of color-shifting ink and latent images that can be seen only at a certain angle.

The bank plans to redesign all other denominations in the future.

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