Israeli pound

Israeli pound
לירה ישראלית (Hebrew)
ليرة إسرائيلية (Arabic)

I£500 note (observe and reverse) issued in 1975
ISO 4217
Code ILP
1/1000 pruta (1950–1960)
1/100 agora (1960–1980)
Plural pounds (לירות lirot)
pruta (1950–1960) agorot (אגורות)
agora (1960–1980) prutot (פרוטות)
Symbol ל"י or I£
Banknotes I£5, I£10, I£50, I£100, I£500
Coins 1, 5, 10, 25 agorot, I£1/2, I£1, I£5
User(s)  Israel (1952-1980)
Central bank Bank Leumi (1952-1955)
Bank of Israel (1955-1980)
Pegged with British pounds (1952-1954)
Pegged by I£1:£1
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The Israeli pound (Hebrew: לירה ישראלית Lira Yisr'elit, Arabic: ليرة إسرائيلية) or Israeli lira was the currency of the State of Israel from June 1952 until 23 February 1980, when it was replaced with the shekel on 24 February 1980, which was again replaced with the New Shekel in 1985.

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).[1]

In 1952, the Anglo-Palestine Bank changed its name to Bank Leumi Le-Yisrael (Israel National Bank) and the currency name became: lira yisraelit (לירה ישראלית) in Hebrew, junayh isrāīlī in Arabic, and Israel pound in English.[2] 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£".[3]


Palestine pound note, 1929

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 Palestine 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 Palestine 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 pound 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 pound into a Hebrew name, Shekel (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 shekel at a rate of 1 shekel = 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 pound 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.

Bank Leumi Series (1952)

Value Size Color Image Issued Withdrawn
500 prutot 148X72 mm Olive green - blue 9 June 1952 7 February 1961
1 pound 150X75 mm Green-Pink
5 pounds 155X80 mm Red-brown
10 pounds 155X80 mm Gray-pink
50 pounds 160X85 mm Brown-green

First Series of the Pound (1955)

Value Size Color Observe Reverse Image Issue Withdraw
500p 130X72 mm red Bar'am National Park Abstract painting 4 August 1955 31 March 1984
I£1 135X72 mm blue View of Upper Galilee Abstract painting 27 October 1955
I£5 140X78 mm brown Negev landscape, a settlement and farm equipment Abstract painting 27 October 1955
I£10 150X82 mm green Valley View and cultivated fields Abstract painting 4 August 1955
I£50 160X87 mm blue Road to Jerusalem Abstract painting 19 September 1957

Second Series of the Pound (1959)

Value Size Color Observe Reverse Image Issue Withdraw
I£1/2 130X70 mm green A Nahal with a basket of oranges Tombs of the Sanhedrin 15 October 1959 31 March 1984
I£1 135X75 mm blue A fisherman, a bay in background Mosaic art in Isfiya
I£5 140X78 mm brown Worker holding a hammer on a background plant Figure stamp featuring a roaring lion, which is located in Tel Megiddo
I£10 150X82 mm purple A scientist in a laboratory Isaiah scroll, a section of the Dead Sea Scrolls
I£50 178X93 mm brown Pioneers in an agricultural settlement in the Negev Menorah from the Maon Synagogue 9 December1960

Third Series of the Pound (1970)

Value Size Color Observe Reverse Image Issue Withdraw
I£5 150X75 mm blue Albert Einstein Soreq Nuclear Research Center 13 January 1972 31 March 1984
I£10 160X82 mm Yellow-ivory Hayim Nahman Bialik Bialik House 6 August 1970
I£50 170X84 mm Brown-red Chaim Weizmann Knesset 13 January 1972
I£100 180X90 mm blue Theodor Herzl State emblem surrounded by symbols of the tribes of Israel 27 February 1969

Fourth Series of the Pound (1975)

Value Size Color Observe Reverse Image Issue Withdraw
I£5 128X76 mm brown Henrietta Szold with Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus Lions' Gate 11 March 1976 31 March 1984
I£10 135X76 mm Pink-Purple Moses Montefiore with Mishkenot Sha'ananim in background Jaffa Gate 30 January 1975
I£50 141X76 mm green Chaim Weizmann, Weizmann Institute of Science in background Damascus Gate 26 January 1978
I£100 147X71 mm blue Theodor Herzl, entrance to Mount Herzl in background Zion Gate 14 March 1975
I£500 153X76 mm Ivory-Brown David Ben-Gurion at the library in Sde Boker Golden Gate 26 May 1977

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 pound note, two on the 10 pound note, one on the 50 pound note, no dots on the 100 pound note, and a large bar the length of three dots on the 500 pound note.

See also



[4] [5] [6]

  1. One Palestine Pound, IL: Bank of Israel, archived from the original on April 27, 2006
  2. One Israeli Pound, IL: Bank of Israel
  3. First Series of the Pound, IL: Bank Le-Israel
  4. One Palestine Pound, IL: Bank of Israel - Anglo Palestine Bank Series
  5. One Israeli Pound, IL: Bank of Israel - Le-Israel Series
  6. First Series of the Pound, IL: Bank of Israel - First Series of the Pound
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