What is the 'ILS (Israeli New Shekel)'

ILS is the currency abbreviation or currency symbol for the Israeli new shekel, the currency for Israel. The new shekel is made up of 100 agorot. This symbol represents a combination of the first letters in Hebrew for the words "shekel" and "hadash." 

BREAKING DOWN 'ILS (Israeli New Shekel)'

As of 2016, the Bank of Israel issues the new shekel, while South Korea produces the coins. Switzerland produces the bank notes. There are different divisions of the new shekel, including 10 agorat and 0.5 shekel. The new shekel first served as Israel's official currency in 1986, and as of 2016 is still in use. Despite a recession in Israel between 2008 and 2009, the new shekel has maintained long-lasting stability thanks to the implementation of new economic policies by the State of Israel as well as the success of the state's banks.

History of the New Shekel

The word "shekel" originally referred to a unit of weight that was roughly around 1 ounce. The shekel supplanted the Israeli lira as the currency of Israel in 1980. The old shekel suffered during a period of inflation during the 1980s and the new shekel replaced it in 1986 at a ratio of 1,000:1 following the 1985 Economic Stabilization Plan. The new rate became one new shekel corresponding to 1,000 old sheqalim. The new shekel became a freely convertible currency in 2003 and began trading derivatives in 2006. The currency became fully convertible in 2008.

Divisions and Series of the New Shekel

The Bank of Israel issues coins and bills that are based on the new shekel system. These coins and bills, in turn, come as part of series that the Bank of Israel issues on a periodic basis. After an initial series of the new shekel, a second series came out in 1999. This series contained new features on the new shekel, including security features to protect against forgers. The second series of bills and coins was designed by Naomi Rosner and Meir Eshel. The third series came out in 2014, and this series sought to improve on the security features of the second series to protect the economy against counterfeit money. This series also came with features that made the money easier to use by the blind and those with other eyesight problems. Art on the new shekels of the third series showcase poets and themes important to Israel. It was with this series that the Bank of Israel adopted the standard English spelling of "shekel," while previous versions used the traditional Hebrew translations of "sheqel."


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