Israel Welcomes the Shnekel: Two Shekel Coin Makes Official Entrance

2ShekelCoins YNetNews

As an Israel insider, you will be interested in knowing that the two shekel coin has made its official entrance into the wallets– if not the hearts– of the Israeli people. The five shekel coin is being faded out.

The Coin’s Design

2Shekel JohnHyrcanus

The new two shekel coin features a pomegranate and horn of plenty symbol, modeled after an ancient insignia by Johanan Horcanus (יוחנן הורקנוס).

Horcanus (also known by the Greek name John Hyrcanus) was the Jewish high priest from 135 to 105 BCE. He was the son of Simeon Maccabaeus, one of the original Maccabees from the Chanukkah story (hence the coin’s debut on Tuesday, the first night of the holiday).

Minted in… South Korea?

It is interesting to note that shekels are not made in Israel. Rather, because Israel has no mint, they are produced in South Korea and shipped to Israel for circulation.

Coins & the Economy

How will the new coins affect the economy? Probably not at all. The adding and subtracting of coins into the Israeli marketplace is not due to inflation and budgetary crisis as in the past, but simply because the two shekel coins are cheaper to produce than the fives.

The History of the New Israeli Shekel

The New Israeli Shekel (NIS or shekel hadash) was first introduced in 1985. Here is how new coins and bills were released into circulation.


  • Agurot in the denominations of 1, 5, 10 were introduced
  • Shekel coins in the denominations of 1/2 and 1 were introduced
  • Bank notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 were introduced (same design as old 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 shekel notes)


  • Bank notes of 100 and 200 shekels were introduced
  • Bank notes of 1, 5, 20

1990: 5 shekel coin introduced

1991: Ceased production of 1 agurot coin

1995: 10 shekel coin introduced


  • 2 shekel coin introduced
  • Ceasing production of 5 shekel coin


Your vocabulary word for the day is: numismatics, the study of coins.


Images sourced from here and here, with thanks.



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