Pair of new Israel notes feature historic women, completing series honoring poets

20-new-sheqel note honors Rachel Bluwstein, better know as “Rachel the Poetess”
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 02/19/17
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Following up on the introduction of the 50 new sheqel in September 2014 and the 200 new sheqel in 2015 in its new currency Series C, the Bank of Israel is now preparing for the introduction of the 20- and 100-new-sheqel notes before the end of 2017. This will complete a series where all issues are dedicated to Israeli poets.

Both new notes for 2017 feature women. 

The 20-new-sheqel note has a portrait of Rachel Bluwstein (1890 to 1931), who is better know as “Rachel the Poetess.” Born in Russia, she emigrated to Palestine in 1909, where she became one of the pioneers in the Zionist movement. She is called the “founding mother” of modern Hebrew poetry by women. 

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The note is predominantly red in color. In addition to Rachel’s portrait, the face of the note has a background of palm tree branches and words from her poem “Kinneret” (Hebrew name of the Sea of Galilee) in microtext. The back shows a view of the Galilee shoreline and a segment from the poem, “Perhaps it was … nothing.”

The predominantly orange 100-new-sheqel note is dedicated to Leah Goldberg (1911 to 1970). She grew up in Lithuania and left for Palestine in 1935. In addition to several collections of poetry, she also wrote drama and children’s literature. She was well-known as a translator, her most famous work being the Hebrew adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. 

Goldberg’s head on the face is accompanied by almond tree blossoms and, in microprinting: “In the land of my love the almond tree blossoms.” Two gazelles on the back join a portion from the poem “White Days.”

Among the security features disclosed by the Bank of Israel are security paper with an embedded watermark containing the portrait and the denomination; a color-changing security thread with three windows in which the portrait and denomination appear; raised ink on both sides; tiny holes in the shape of the denomination; microtext; a security foil stripe; color changing ink; and transparent ink. Signs for the visually impaired are different sizes for each denomination an a unique symbol on each denomination’s margins printed with transparent raised ink. 

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