Former Prime Ministers Rabin and Begin
Former Prime Ministers Rabin and BeginIsrael news photo montage

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has approved putting images of former Prime MInisters Yitzchak Rabin and Menachem Begin on new currency, as opposed to choosing other former Prime Ministers, because they “made peace” with Arafat and Egypt..

Fischer, whose political views have been notably center-left, explained that the decision was because they signed peace agreements with Yasser Arafat and Egypt. The decision needs Cabinet approval.

The new notes, with advanced anti-forgery techniques, will appear in 2012, replacing current images of Moshe Sharett, Israel’s second prime minister, Yitzchak Ben-Tzvi and Zalman Shazar, who were the second and third presidents of the country.

Fischer said Sunday morning that he approved using the pictures of Rabin and Begin because “they were policy makers who signed peace agreements with our neighbors, and it is important to note the historical landmarks for future generations.

Begin signed a peace accord with Egypt in 1979, and Cairo has maintained increasingly chilly diplomatic relations with Israel. However, no Egyptian president has visited Jerusalem except for the funeral of Rabin.

Rabin signed the Oslo Accords with Arafat at the White House in 1995 when Arafat was head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the superior body of the Palestinian Authority.

The PA has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and has increasingly violated sections of the Oslo Accords, which stipulate that the PA must solve problems through negotiations, halt incitement and terror and not take any unilateral actions toward establishing a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders.

After failing to force Israel to accept all of its demands for a PA state, including the immigration of foreign Arabs to Israel and a surrender of all land restored to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, Abbas has turned to the international community for recognition of its desired borders, which would include the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and Jerusalem neighborhoods that are home to nearly 300,000 Jews. Included among those are the neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol, French Hill, and Gilo. 

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz strongly objected to Fischer’s decision, which was made after receiving recommendations from a committee headed by retired High Court Justice Yaakov Turkel.

Besides Begin and Rabin, the new bills will continue to feature writer Shai Agnon, and will add the songwriter ‘Rachel.”