|לִירָה יִשְׂרְאֵלִית (Hebrew)|
|Central bank||Bank of Israel|
|Symbol||ל"י or I£|
|Coins||1, 5, 10, 25 agorot, 1/2, 1, 5 lirot|
|Banknotes||5, 10, 50, 100, 500 lirot|
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
The Israeli lira (Hebrew: לִירָה יִשְׂרְאֵלִית, Lira Yisr'elit, plural: Lirot Yisr'eliyot, לִירוֹת יִשׂרְאְלִיּוֹת) or Israel pound was the currency of the State of Israel from August 1948 until 23 February 1980, when it was replaced with the Old Israeli shekel on 24 February 1980. Until 1952, the name used on the notes of the Anglo-Palestine Bank was Palestine pound, in Hebrew לירה א"י (lira E.Y. i.e. lira Eretz-Yisraelit). In Arabic, the name was given as junayh filisţīnī (جنيه فلسطيني). In 1952, the Anglo-Palestine Bank changed its name to Bank Leumi Le-Yisrael (The Israel National Bank) and the currency name became: lira yisraelit (לירה ישראלית) in Hebrew, junayh isrāīlī in Arabic, and Israel pound in English. From 1955, after the Bank of Israel was established and took over the duty of issuing banknotes, only the Hebrew name was used, along with the symbol "I£". Before the Israeli lira the currency of the British Mandate and Israel was the Palestine pound between 1927 and August 1948.
The British Mandate of Palestine, which administered the territory now known as Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza prior to May 15, 1948, issued the Palestinian pound, a currency equal in value and pegged to the UK Pound, which was divided into 1000 Mils. Banknotes in circulation were issued by the Palestine Currency Board, which was subject to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Israel inherited the Palestinian pound but, shortly after the establishment of the state, new banknotes were issued by the London-based Anglo-Palestine bank of the Zionist movement. The new coins were the first to bear the new state's name, while the banknotes said "The Anglo-Palestine Bank Limited". While the first coins minted by Israel still bore the name "mil", the next ones bore the Hebrew name prutah (Hebrew: פרוטה). A second series of banknotes was issued after the Anglo-Palestine Bank moved its headquarters to Tel Aviv and changed its name to Bank Leumi (Hebrew: בנק לאומי "National Bank"). The pegging to the UK Pound was abolished on January 1, 1954, and in 1960, the sub-division of the lira was changed from 1000 prutot to 100 agorot (singular agora Hebrew: אגורה ,אגורות).
During the 1960s, a debate over the non-Hebrew name of the Israeli currency resulted in a law ordering the Minister of Finance to change the name lira into a Hebrew name, sheqel (שקל). The law allowed the minister to decide on a proper date for the change. The law did not come into effect until February 1980, when the Israeli government decided to change the monetary system and introduce the sheqel at a rate of 1 sheqel = 10 lirot.
Israel's first coins were aluminium 25 mil pieces, dated 1948 and 1949, which were issued in 1949 before the adoption of the pruta. Later in 1949, coins were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 250 prutah. The coins were conceived, in part, by Israeli graphic designer Otte Wallish.
In 1960, coins were issued denominated in agora. There were 1, 5, 10 and 25 agorot pieces. In 1963, 1/2 and 1 lira coins were introduced, followed by 5 lirot coins in 1978.
In 1948, the government issued fractional notes for 50 and 100 mils. The Anglo-Palestine Bank issued banknotes for 500 mils, 1, 5, 10 and 50 lirot (pounds) between 1948 and 1951. In 1952, the government issued a second series of fractional notes for 50 and 100 prutah with 250 prutah notes added in 1953. Also in 1952, the "Bank Leumi Le-Israel" took over paper money production and issued the same denominations as the Anglo-Palestine Bank except that the 500 mils was replaced by a 500 prutah note.
The Bank of Israel began note production in 1955, also issuing notes for 500 pruta, 1, 5, 10 and 50 lirot. In 1968, 100 lirot notes were introduced, followed by 500 lirot notes in 1975.
Features for the blind
In the third banknote issuing, released between 1973 and 1975, a feature was added for use in identifying denomination by visually impaired and blind people. A tactile set of dots, with three on the five lira note, two on the 10 lira note, one on the 50 lira note, no dots on the 100 lira note, and a large bar the length of three dots on the 500 lira note.
- Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
- One Palestine Pound, IL: Bank of Israel[dead link]
- One Israeli Pound, IL: Bank of Israel[dead link]
- First Series of the Pound, IL: Bank Le-Israel[dead link]
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