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Israeli new shekel

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Title: Israeli new shekel  
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Israeli new shekel

Israeli new shekel
שקל חדש (Hebrew)
شيقل جديد (Arabic)
1 shekel coin
ISO 4217 code ILS
Central bank Bank of Israel
 Website .il.govbankisrael
User(s)  Israel
 Palestinian Authority[1]
Inflation 0.5% (2014 est.) 1.5% (2013 est.)
 Source The World Factbook, 2015
 1/100 agora
Plural shekalim or sheqalim
agora agorot
Coins 10 agorot, ½, 1, 2, 5, 10 new sheqalim
Banknotes 20, 50, 100, 200 new sheqalim

The Israeli new shekel (Hebrew: שֶׁקֶל חָדָשׁ Shekel H̱adash Arabic: شيقل جديد šēqel ǧadīd    ) (sign: ; acronym: ש״ח and in English NIS; code: ILS) (pl. sheqalimשְׁקָלִים; ) is the currency of the State of Israel. It is also used in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The shekel consists of 100 agorot (אֲגוֹרוֹת) (sing. agora, אֲגוֹרָה). Denominations made in this currency are marked with the shekel sign, ₪. The Israeli new shekel has been in use since 1 January 1986 when it replaced the old shekel that was in usage between 24 February 1980 and 31 December 1985, at a ratio of 1000:1. The authoritative spelling on Israeli coins and banknotes is new sheqel, pl. new sheqalim, though the spelling shekel is also commonly used.


  • History 1
  • Coins 2
  • Banknotes 3
  • Gallery 4
  • Abbreviation 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Israeli lira, followed by the old shekel, experienced frequent devaluations against the US dollar and other foreign currencies, starting in the early 1960s and accelerating from the mid-1970s. This trend culminated in the old shekel suffering from hyperinflation in the early 1980s. After inflation was contained as a result of the 1985 Economic Stabilization Plan, the new shekel was introduced, replacing the old shekel on 1 January 1986, at a rate of 1,000 old sheqalim = 1 new shekel.

Since the economic crisis of the 1980s and introduction of the New Shekel, the Bank of Israel and the government of Israel have maintained much more careful and conservative fiscal and monetary policies, and have gradually introduced various market-based economic reforms. In addition, the signing of free trade agreements helped the Israeli economy become more competitive, while heavy investment in its industrial and scientific base allowed the country to take advantage of opportunities associated with the rise of the global knowledge economy, thus greatly increasing exports and opening new markets for its products and services. As a result of these factors, inflation has been relatively low and the country now maintains a positive balance of payments (equivalent to about 3% of its GDP in 2010). Consequently, its currency has strengthened considerably, rising approximately 20% in value relative to the US dollar in the 2000s decade, thereby reversing the trend of historical weakness the Israeli currency exhibited in the decades prior. In the future, the exploitation of recently discovered natural gas reserves off the Israeli coastline that is expected to begin in the mid-2010s decade and onwards may serve to further strengthen the Israeli currency.

Since 1 January 2003, the shekel has been a freely convertible currency. Since 7 May 2006, shekel derivative trading has also been available on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.[2] This makes the shekel one of only twenty or so world currencies for which there are widely available currency futures contracts in the foreign exchange market. It is also a currency that can be exchanged by consumers in many parts of the world.[3][4]

On 26 May 2008, CLS Bank International announced that it would settle payment instructions in Israeli New shekel, making the currency fully convertible.[5]


In 1985, coins in denominations of 1, 5 and 10 agorot, ½ and 1 new shekel were introduced.[6] In 1990, 5 new sheqalim coins were introduced,[7] followed by 10 new sheqalim in 1995.[8] Production of 1 agora pieces ceased in 1990 too, and they were removed from circulation on 1 April 1991. A 2 new sheqalim coin was introduced on 9 December 2007.[9] The 5 agorot coin, last minted in 2006, was removed from circulation on 1 January 2008.[10]

In April 2011, it was reported that new coins would be minted that would use less metal and thus lower costs. Counterfeiting would also be harder.[11] The Bank of Israel is considering dropping the word "new" on the planned coins series. If approved, this would be the first replacement of all coins since the introduction of the new shekel coins in September 1985.[12]

The coins are minted by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO).[13]

Circulation coins of the shekel are:

Shekel coin series
Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Thickness Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal
1 agora 17 mm 1.2 mm 2 g Aluminium bronze
92% copper
6% aluminium
2% nickel
Smooth Ancient galley, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Value, date 4 September 1985 1 April 1991
5 agorot 19.5 mm 1.3 mm 3 g Smooth Replica of a coin from the fourth year of the war of the Jews against Rome depicting a lulav between two etrogim, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 1 January 2008
10 agorot 22 mm 1.5 mm 4 g Smooth Replica of a coin issued by Antigonus II Mattathias with the seven-branched candelabrum, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Current
½ new shekel 26 mm 1.6 mm 6.5 g Smooth Lyre, the state emblem Value, date, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Current
1 new shekel 18 mm 1.8 mm 4 g Cupronickel
75% copper
25% nickel[14]
Smooth Lily, "Yehud" in ancient Hebrew, the state emblem Value, date, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 4 September 1985 Current
2 new sheqalim 21.6 mm 2.3 mm 5.7 g Nickel bonded steel Smooth with 4 regions of grooves Two cornucopia, the state emblem 9 December 2007 Current
5 new sheqalim 24 mm 2.4 mm 8.2 g Cupronickel
75% copper
25% nickel
12 sides Capital of column, the state emblem 2 January 1990 Current
10 new sheqalim 23 mm
Core: 16 mm
2.2 mm 7 g Ring: Nickel bonded steel
Center: Aureate bonded bronze
Reeded Palm tree with seven leaves and two baskets with dates, the state emblem, the words "for the redemption of Zion" in ancient and modern Hebrew alphabet Value, date, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 7 February 1995 Current
For table standards, see the .


Beginning on 4 September 1985, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, and 50 new sheqalim. The 1 new shekel note followed on 8 May 1986, and the 20 new sheqalim note issued on 12 April 1988 completed the family.[15] The 1, 5 and 10 new shekel notes used the same basic designs as the earlier 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 old shekel notes but with the denominations altered.

In 1986, 100 new shekel notes were introduced, followed by 200 new shekel notes in 1991. The 1, 5 and 10 new shekel notes were later replaced by coins. A plan to issue a 500 shekel banknote, carrying the portrait of Yitzhak Rabin, was announced shortly after Rabin's assassination in 1995. However, due to low inflation rates, there was no need for such a banknote, and it was never issued.[16] However, in February 2008 the Bank of Israel announced that the planning of an entirely new series of banknotes has started, and that the new series, to be issued in 2010, will most probably include a 500 shekel banknote as well. Though still not decided officially, the new series is likely to consist of polymer notes only. In December 2009 the Bank of Israel announced a new series to be issued in 2012, which would bear the images of Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. The plan to issue a 500 shekel note was officially abandoned.[17] The announcement was publicly criticized and a few days later, the governor of the Bank of Israel announced that the issue be reconsidered.[18]

Second series of the new shekel
Value Dimensions Colour Obverse Reverse
20 New Sheqalim 71x 138 mm Green Moshe Sharett Jewish volunteers in World War II; a watchtower, commemorating tower and stockade settlements
50 New Sheqalim Purple Shmuel Yosef Agnon Agnon's notebook, pen and glasses, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount
100 New Sheqalim Brown Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Peki'in Synagogue
200 New Sheqalim Red Zalman Shazar a street in Safed and text from Shazar's essay about Safed

The 20 shekel banknote is the first, as of April 2008, to be made of polypropylene, a polymer substrate, which is superior to the current paper note with a circulation life of a few months only. The polymer note is printed by Orell Füssli Security Printing of Zürich, Switzerland. 1.8 million of the new banknotes were printed with the writing "60 years [anniversary] of the State of Israel" (in Hebrew), in red ink.

The committee proposed that the new series would bear the portraits of prominent Hebrew poets, among them Rachel, Shaul Tchernichovsky, Leah Goldberg and Nathan Alterman. In December 2010, it was announced that the series would feature portraits of Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Rachel and Shmuel Yosef Agnon.[19] When Begin's family opposed the decision, the committee's original proposal was readopted.[20]

On 14 November 2012 the Bank of Israel announced that the new series of banknotes is in the final stages of design. The first of the new banknotes to begin circulation was in the 50 NIS denomination on 16 September 2014, the NIS 200 note is expected to be issued in soon after.[21] The other two denominations, NIS 20 and NIS 100, are expected to be issued in the beginning of 2015.[22][23][24][25]

Third Series of the New shekel
Value Dimensions Colour Obverse Reverse
20 New Shekels 129 x 71 mm Red Rachel Bluwstein
50 New Shekels 136 x 71 mm Green Shaul Tchernichovsky; the poem Oh, My Land, My Homeland in microprinting; Citrus tree and its fruits in the background Capital of a Corinthian Column; Segment from the poem I Believe
100 New Shekels 143 x 71 mm Orange Leah Goldberg
200 New Shekels 150 x 71 mm Blue Nathan Alterman; the poem Eternal Meeting in microprinting; Fall leaves in the background Moonlit flora; Segment from the poem Morning Song



In Hebrew the new shekel is usually abbreviated ש"ח (pronounced shaẖ). The symbol for the new shekel, , is a combination of the first Hebrew letters of the words shekel (ש) and ẖadash (ח). According to the standard Hebrew keyboard (SI 1452) it must be typed as AltGr-A (the letter ש appears on the same key in regular Hebrew mode). However, in Windows XP it can be typed on the default Hebrew keyboard by pressing AltGr-4 (while Shift-4 produces the dollar sign), however the sign does not appear on the physical keys of most keyboards that are used in Israel and is rare in day-to-day typing. In Arabic, the currency is usually denoted by the abbreviation ش.ج which is the initials of šikel jadīd, the currency's name in Arabic.

Most traded currencies by value
Currency distribution of global foreign exchange market turnover[26][27]
Rank Currency ISO 4217 code
% daily share
(April 2013)
United States dollar
USD ($)
EUR (€)
Japanese yen
JPY (¥)
Pound sterling
GBP (£)
Australian dollar
AUD ($)
Swiss franc
CHF (Fr)
Canadian dollar
CAD ($)
Mexican peso
MXN ($)
Chinese yuan
CNY (¥)
New Zealand dollar
NZD ($)
Swedish krona
SEK (kr)
Russian ruble
RUB (₽)
Hong Kong dollar
HKD ($)
Norwegian krone
NOK (kr)
Singapore dollar
SGD ($)
Turkish lira
TRY (₺)
South Korean won
KRW (₩)
South African rand
Brazilian real
BRL (R$)
Indian rupee
INR (₹)
Other 6.3%
Total[28] 200%

See also


  1. ^ According to Article 4 of the 1994 Paris Protocol The Protocol allows the Palestinian Authority to adopt additional currencies. In the West Bank the Jordanian dinar is widely accepted and in the Gaza Strip the Egyptian pound is often used.
  2. ^ "CME to Launch Foreign Exchange Contract on Israeli Shekel" (Press release). Chicago Mercantile Exchange. 6 April 2006. 
  3. ^ Israelis can soon travel the world with shekels in their pockets Haaretz
  4. ^ shekel begins trading on global markets Jerusalem Post
  5. ^ CLS Press Release (26 May 2008). "CLS Bank live with Israeli shekel and Mexican Peso". 
  6. ^ "About the Agora and New Shekel Series". Banknotes and Coins Catalog.  
  7. ^ "5 NEW SHEQALIM". Banknotes and Coins Catalog. The Bank of Israel. Retrieved 26 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "10 NEW SHEQALIM". Banknotes and Coins Catalog. The Bank of Israel. Retrieved 26 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "The new NIS 2 coin" (Press release). The Bank of Israel. 8 July 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2007. 
  10. ^ "Abolishment of the 5 agorot coin." (in Hebrew). The Bank of Israel. 1 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  11. ^ Tomer Avital's report in Calcalist, 21 April 2011 (Hebrew)
  12. ^ Gad Lior's report in Ynet, 21 April 2011
  13. ^ Israeli new shekel conversion
  14. ^ Note that nickel-clad steel 1 new sheqalim coins were issued in 1994 and 1995
  15. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Israel". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: 
  16. ^ "The 500 NIS banknote that was never released (Obverse)". 
  17. ^ Motti Basok's report in Haaretz, 17 December 2009 (Hebrew); Keren Marziano's report, Channel Two News, 16 December 2009 (Hebrew)
  18. ^ Press release, Bank of Israel, 23 December 2009
  19. ^ Press release, Bank of Israel, 19 Dec 2009
  20. ^ Press release, Bank of Israel, 10 March 2011
  21. ^ השטר החדש הושק: "יהי קשה לזייף שטרות" [The new banknote was launched: "It will be difficult to counterfeit banknotes"] (in Hebrew).  
  22. ^ Press release, Bank of Israel: Information on the new series of banknotes 14 November 2012
  23. ^ Press release by the Bank of Israel: Images and descriptions on the new series of Israeli new shekel banknotes Bank of Israel ( 28 April 2013. Retrieved on 2013-05-01.
  24. ^ BoI to issue new NIS 50 note in September Globes ( April 27, 2014. Retrieved on 2014-05-19.
  25. ^ Website of the new banknotes in Israel
  26. ^ "World’s Most Traded Currencies By Value 2012". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Report on global foreign exchange market activity in 2013" (PDF). Triennial Central Bank Survey.  
  28. ^ The total sum is 200% because each currency trade always involves a currency pair.

External links

  • Bank of Israel catalogue of Israeli currency since 1948
  • Exchange rates since 1948
  • American Israel Numismatic Association
  • Current Sheqel Dollar Rate
  • – Official Rate gadgetShaar yatzig
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