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Israel’s All-Male Banknotes Updated to Include Two Female Poets

Israeli banknotes will soon be graced with female faces of the Hebrew poetesses Rachel Bluwstein and Leah Goldberg.

When the banknotes are released at end of this year they will be the only Israeli bills with women on them currently in circulation.

Bluwstein, who will appear on the 20 shekel note (the equivalent of $5.30), was a Russian-born writer who immigrated to British Mandate Palestine. Known as “Rachel the Poetess,” the bill in her honor will feature a phrase from her poem “Kinneret” about the Sea of Galilee.

Goldberg, a Lithuanian-born writer who immigrated to Tel Aviv in 1935, will appear on the 200 shekel note (the equivalent of $53.20) alongside a phrase from her poem “White Days.”

Bluwstein and Goldberg aren’t the first women to appear on Israeli money. According to the Times of Israel, [Golda Meir was on a 10 shekel (about $2.66) Israeli banknote](about $2.66 “Golda Meir was on a 10 shekel (about $2.66) Israeli banknote”) until it was removed from circulation in the 1990s. The Israeli currency that preceded the shekel, the pound, also featured several women.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at




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