Sisterhood Blog

A Woman on the Shekel?

By Elana Maryles Sztokman

  • Print
  • Share Share
Since this note was replaced by a coin, women have been absent from Israeli currency. (click to enlarge)

Finally, some small change for women in Israel, so to speak. Four women have been appointed to the New Currency Committee, the Bank of Israel announced last week. The four women, veteran reporter Sherry Raz-Biron, sculptor Ilana Gur, Tel Aviv University professor Adina Myer, and design expert Gila Shakin, will not only create a female presence in decision-making where there was previously none, but they will now have a role in ensuring that women’s profiles will also be represented on the new currency.

At the moment, there are no women featured on Israeli coins or bills. Golda Meir used to appear on the now-defunct 10,000 shekel-note. But ever since the Old Israeli Shekel was replaced by the New Israeli Shekel at a ratio of 1,000 to 1, and the Meir bill replaced by a coin, women have remained absent.

The government has been talking about creating new bills since a formal announcement in February 2008, but thus far nothing has been done. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz was reportedly furious at the proposal brought by the committee eight months ago, which offered four suggestions for figures to appear on the new bills: Theodore Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, both of whom have already appeared on Israeli money, Yitzhak Rabin, and Menachem Begin, whose family had, in the past, refused.

“There is nothing new here,” Steinitz said. But Steinitz, turns out, has a healthy dose of feminist consciousness. “We have many great women in Israeli art and culture,” he said, “who deserve the respect and recognition of having their faces representing the State of Israel.” Some of the names floating around are songwriter Naomi Shemer, poet Leah Goldberg, and the poet Rachel.

The currency committee headed by Yaakov Tirkel, who is also heading the committee investigating the flotilla events, dragged its feet for nearly a year – not because Tirkel has been busy, he insists, but because the committee was insulted by Steinitz’s rejection, the Bank of Israel reports. Last week’s announcement is thus a victory for Steinitz, the minister with the final word, but more so for women, who will now have some decision-making power and ultimately some recognition as national icons.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yuval Steinitz, Yaakov Tirkel, Sherry Raz-Biron, Rachel, Naomi Shemer, Leah Goldberg, Ilana Gur, Golda Meir, Gila Shakin, Adina Myer, Bank of Israel

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.