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The E-Sylum (4/28/2013)

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Israel is planning new banknotes as well. This article describes the new designs and controversies over who ISN'T on the notes. -Editor

New Bank of Israel banknotes

Bank of Israel presents new set of bills that will feature the likenesses of famous Hebrew poets, amid criticism that they lack Sephardi and Arab figures; Netanyahu: We will have Sephardi poet on next bills.

The cabinet approved on Sunday a new series of banknotes to be produced by the Bank of Israel, following protests that women and Mizrahim − Jews of Middle Eastern descent − continue to be absent or underrepresented as figures on Israel’s currency.

Of the four poets to appear on the new banknotes, due out by the end of the year, two are women − Rachel ‏(Blobstein‏) and Leah Goldberg. Nathan Alterman and Shaul Tchernichovsky will also appear. No Sephardic or Mizrahi figures were chosen for this new series.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the criticism at Sunday's cabinet meeting, suggesting that the next figure to appear on an Israeli banknote be Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, the Spanish-Jewish poet and philosopher. But his declaration is unlikely to come to fruition, as the Bank of Israel governor is responsible for the design and production of currency, and no more new banknotes are expected to be issued for the next decade.

Sunday's approval drew scathing criticism from Shas MK Aryeh Deri, who on Friday had called on the cabinet not to approve the new issue.

“This morning’s approval is a symptom of the government’s behavior toward the Mizrahi public,” Deri said. “Mizrahim are excluded from the Supreme Court, academia, the media, the Israel Prize, the current government, and now it’s reached our banknotes. A banknote with a Mizrahi portrait isn’t worth any less. We will not make do with declarations and promises. We will battle discrimination with all the tools at my disposal.”

To read the complete article, see: New Israeli banknotes let the Ashkenazi-Sephardi genie out the bottle, again (

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