JERUSALEM (Sep. 4)
More than 20 million new Shekels emerged from the basement vaults of the Bank of Israel today for distribution to commercial banks throughout the country. They are the equivalent of 20 billion old Shekels and are each worth 67 cents.
Last Friday, before the new Shekel was approved by the Knesset, the official rate was .000667 Dollars to the Shekel. The Bank of Israel simply lopped off the zeroes which were making the Shekel too unwieldly for cash registers and computers.
Old Shekels will continue to be accepted as legal currency for the remainder of this year and prices will be marked in old Shekels in order to avoid confusion. The new Shekel banknotes issued today are in five, 10 and 50 Shekel denominations. Only the latter is newly printed. It bears the portrait of Israel’s Nobel Laureate in literature, Shai Agnon.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said it has taken special precautions to track down merchants who raise prices on the pretext of adjusting to the new Shekels.