Bank of Israel releases designs for new bills featuring female Hebrew poets

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Images of female Hebrew poets are featured on the new designs of the 20- and 100-shekel bills released by The Bank of Israel.

The bill’s designs were released Tuesday. The new bills reportedly will go into circulation by the end of the calendar year.

Rachel Bluwstein, known as Rachel the Poetess, is featured on the 20-shekel note, which will be red and include the words from her poem “Kinneret” — Hebrew for the Sea of Galilee. The poem will be seen alongside a picture of the shore of the body of water in northern Israel.

Leah Goldberg, an Israeli poet and writer, is featured on the 100-shekel note, which will be orange and feature an excerpt from her poem “White Days” alongside an image of a deer.

Bluwstein, who died in 1931, is a leading poet in modern Hebrew whose works have been set to music. Goldberg, who died in 1970, was a poet, author, playwright, literary translator and researcher of Hebrew literature who translated “War and Peace” into Hebrew.

The late Prime Minister Golda Meir was the last woman to be featured on a new bill — the 10-shekel note in 1985. It was removed from circulation in the 1990s and replaced with a coin. Israeli coins feature symbols, not people.

The 50-shekel bill, released in 2014, has an image of Shaul Tchernihovsky, a Russian-born Hebrew poet, and the 200-shekel bill released in 2015 has a portrait of Natan Alterman, a Polish-born playwright, poet and journalist who wrote in Hebrew.

The Bank of Israel has been criticized for choosing all Ashkenazi writers for the bills.