World Coins

Israel honors Prime Minister Rabin with commemoratives

The Bank of Israel continues a series of coins honoring the Nobel Prize winners of the state of Israel, with a 2011 issue honoring former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Proof. 917 fine gold 10-New-Israeli-shekel coin seen here is among three versions available.

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Yitzhak Rabin, former Prime Minister of Israel, is the latest subject of the Bank of Israel’s annual Nobel Prize coin series.

The series is honoring all of Israel’s Nobel Prize recipients. Israel leads the world on a per-capita basis for the number of Nobel Prize winners, according to the Bank of Israel, which announced the Rabin coins Jan. 10.

The nation’s 10th winner — Professor Dan Shechtman of Haifa Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology) — received the prize for chemistry in 2011, becoming the sixth winner for Israel in less than a decade.

The coin series began in 2008 by honoring Shmuel Yosef Agnon, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966. Menachem Begin, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1978, followed on the 2009 coin. Shimon Peres (Peace, 1994), was the subject of the 2010 coin.

Rabin, who served as Israel’s prime minister from 1974 to 1977 and again from 1992 to 1995, devoted his life to the pursuit of peace and to his vision of a new Middle East.

Born in Jerusalem in 1922 and a graduate with distinction from the Kaduri Agricultural College, Rabin wanted to study Irrigation Engineering. Instead, circumstances led him to embark on what was to become a military career, when in 1940 he joined the Palmach, the elite fighting unit of the Haganah (the Jewish underground army during the British occupation of Palestine).

He spent the first 20 years of Israel’s existence as one of its senior military officers, culminating in his appointment as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 1963 to 1968. After retiring from the military he served as ambassador to the United States, was elected to the Knesset in 1973 and was first named prime minister the following year.

In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Shimon Peres (then Israel’s foreign minister), and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Army, for efforts toward peace in the Middle East.

At the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, Rabin’s speech deeply moved the audience:

“There is only one radical means of sanctifying human lives. Not armored plating, or tanks, or planes, or concrete fortifications. The one radical solution is peace.”

On Nov. 4, 1995, at the conclusion of a peace rally in Tel Aviv, Rabin was assassinated.

Leaders from all over the world attended his state funeral as he was laid to rest on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

New commemorative coin

The new coin was designed by Aharon Shevo, with a portrait of Rabin engraved by Tidhar Dagan.

The obverse bears the face value, the Israel state emblem, the word “Israel” in English, Hebrew and Arabic, the year of issue (as 2011 and as Hebrew Year 5772 in Hebrew characters), and an olive branch symbolizing peace. Below the face value is the Mint mark, appearing as a Hebrew letter “mem” on the Proof coins and as a Star of David on the silver prooflike coin. Around the right-hand border is “Yitzhak Rabin — Nobel Peace Prize 1994” in Arabic.

The reverse carries the Rabin portrait, based on a photograph taken in the years preceding the Nobel Peace Prize award. Around the border is the inscription “Yitzhak Rabin — Nobel Peace Prize 1994” in English and Hebrew.

Three different coins share the designs, except for the denominational markings: a Proof .917 fine gold 10-new-Israeli-sheqel coin, a Proof .925 fine silver 2-NIS coin and a Prooflike .925 fine silver 1-NIS coin.

The gold coin weighs 16.96 grams, measures 30 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 888 pieces. The silver 2-sheqel coin weighs 28.8 grams, measures 38.7 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 2,800 pieces. The silver 1-sheqel coin weighs 14.4 grams, measures 30 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 1,800 pieces.

All three coins are offered singly, plus two sets are offered. Both silver coins are offered in one set, and all three coins are offered in a three-coin set.

Pricing changes daily. Current pricing for the coins is available at or by telephone in the United States at 888-421-1866.

As of March 1, the prooflike silver 1-sheqel coin was offered at $96, the Proof silver 2-sheqel piece was priced at $148 and the two-coin silver set was priced at $236. The Proof gold 10-sheqel coin was priced at $1,775. The three-coin set price was $1,997. All orders should include $25 to cover insured international shipping and handling.

For more information on all the coin and medal issues of Israel or to order online visit the Israel Mint’s website.

Alternatively, to order or to receive more information about Israel’s coins and medals, email the ICMC at, telephone it toll free at 888-421-1866, or write ICMC/The Holy Land Mint, P.O. Box 2040, Nesher 36680, Israel.

The other Nobel Prize winners from Israel are Daniel Kahneman (Economics, 2002), Avram Hershko (Chemistry, 2004), Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry, 2004), Robert Aumann (Economics, 2005) and Ada E. Yonath (Chemistry, 2009). ¦

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