New 2-Shekel Coin Expected

The Bank of Israel is making the last preparations for the issuance of a new 2-shekel coin, currently worth approximately 45 cents.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 13:54

The new coin will be 2.16 centimeters in diameter - smaller than the 5-shekel coin and larger than the 1-shekel coin. Having been approved by the relevant committees, as required by law, the new coin should be available within a matter of months, though the Bank of Israel is not yet prepared to announce the exact date.

As with other Israeli coins, the 2-shekel coin's design is based on ancient Jewish coins. It will depict the "horns of plenty" that was present on Yehochanan's coins of 2,000 years ago.

The addition of the 2-shekel coin will streamline cash payments, the Bank of Israel says, chiefly for high-volume users, and will also save money in coin production and maintenance.

Bank of Israel statistics show that bills comprise 95% of cash circulation. Of the remaining 5%, just over half the number of coins are valued at 10 agorot. One-shekel coins make up 22% of coin-turnover, while - surprisingly - the 5-agorot coin comprises 14%. The half-shekel coin comprises 7%, and 5- and 10-shekel coins make up the rest of the circulation.

In 1995, 236 million bills were in circulation - up from 204 million the year before - more than half of which were 100-shekel notes. The others are valued at 20, 50 and 200 shekels. The note most widely removed from circulation because of wear-and-tear is the 20-shekel bill.