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Zealots in Israel Warned Against Defacing Newly-issued Banknotes

Any person caught defacing Israel’s new banknotes will face a court hearing, a Bank of Israel spokesman warned today. He was commenting on reports that some ultra-Orthodox groups had threatened to blot out the reproductions of human figures on the new currency.

The zealots reportedly objected to the depiction of human figures as contrary to the commandment in the Decalogue forbidding images. The new banknotes include illustrations of a scientist, an industrial worker, a fisherman and a woman soldier. The zealots were additionally angered by the fact that the girl was pictured with rolled-up shirt sleeves.

Dr. Ernst Nebenzahl, chairman of the Bank of Israel Advisory Council who is head of the National Religious Party’s list for the Jerusalem municipal elections, said in his warning that the portraits were necessary to make forgeries more difficult. He also defended the girl’s portrait, asserting it would be “unthinkable” to issue a series of banknotes showing typical Israelis without “including at least one woman.”

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