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The state of Israel ( Hebrew: Medinat Jisrael; Arabic: Daulat Isrá’íl) is a modern state formation established after World War II on part of Palestine. It was declared as a state of the Jews, even though other nationalities also live there. Its proclamation immediately led to a war with the Arabs, and conflicts continue to this day even though Israel has already normalised its relations with some neighbours on the basis of peace treaties. Israel is located on the Arabian Peninsula on the east coast of the Mediterranean, but in the south it borders the Red Sea. It covers an area of 20,770 km²; it is 22,145 km² with the annexed Golan Heights and East Jerusalem and 28,023 km² with the area of the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Jerusalem is the capital, but many countries still regard Tel Aviv as the capital, although Israel has always ruled the western part of Jerusalem. Israel has borders with Lebanon to the north, Jordan to the east and Egypt in the south. Despite its small size, it is geographically very varied: in the south it is covered by the Negev desert, and in the north by the Galilee, Carmel and Golan mountain ranges. To the east of the Central Highlands is the Jordan River Valley, which is part of the Great Rift Valley, stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique. The River Jordan, which rises on the slopes of Mount Hermon, flows south through the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth, located 408 metres below sea level. The highest mountain on Israel’s original territory is the 1,280 m high Har Heron in Upper Galilee. In the occupied Golan Heights is Mitzpe Shlagim, a mountain which rises to an elevation of about 2,224 m. Mount Hermon, at 2,814 metres, is even higher, but its peak is controlled by the Syrians. The southern slope of the mountain, up to a height of 2,250 metres, is controlled by Israelis. Most of the territory has a Mediterranean climate, with rainy winters and long hot summers.

Israel is an economically advanced country with high GDP per capita and large purchasing power. The core of its economy is based around advanced industry and high technology, be it electronics, IT, nanotechnology or biotechnology. The military and aerospace industries, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, are also highly developed. Despite its small size, it is largely self-sufficient in agriculture, although wheat and beef must be imported. In terms of tourism, Israel enjoys a unique location, with hotel resorts scattered along the shores of Sea of Galilee as well as the Mediterranean, Dead and Red seas. Because of its healing power, the Dead Sea is much visited – it is one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet.

The Bank of Israel is the central bank of the State of Israel, based in Jerusalem, with a branch in Tel Aviv. Its current governor is Dr. Karnit Flug. The Bank of Israel was founded on August 24, 1954, when the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the Bank of Israel Act, which granted it a supervisory right over other banks. Until 1978, the bank was given control over the setting of exchange rates against foreign currencies. Since 1992, the Bank has executed an inflation plan and is empowered to change monetary policy as necessary.

The Bank seeks to raise public awareness of its activities and areas of competence. It does so by means of various publications, press releases, etc. It has a centre for visitors in Jerusalem, with an exhibition showing the development and emission of money. In addition, those interested can watch films, listen to lectures or play games explaining the Bank’s main functions.

Objectives of the Bank of Israel

The main objectives of the Bank of Israel are registered and set out in Act No. 5770-2010 on the Bank of Israel: to maintain price stability; to support the further objectives of government economic policies, especially growth, employment and the reduction of social inequalities; and to support the stability of the country’s financial system.

Functions of the Bank of Israel

  • Managing monetary policy
  • Holding and managing foreign exchange reserves of the State
  • Promoting the correct activity and stability of financial markets
  • It works as a government banker
  • It emits currency, and it regulates and manages the cash system of the economy
  • It supervises and regulates banking systems
  • It assists the government in banking matters
  • It gathers and disseminates information and data about the Israeli economy
  • It represents Israel in international financial institutions

The Bank of Israel has the exclusive right to issue Israeli currency – banknotes, coins, commemorative and special coins. The Bank Governor determines the form of banknotes and coins with the approval of the Board of Directors and the Government, which he consults with the Board of Directors for Banknote and Coin Planning.



Emission plan of the ICMC

The Israel Mint was established in 1958 by then Prime Minister Ben Gurion for the purpose of commemorating the historical events and milestones of the State of Israel, as well as its outstanding figures and achievements in culture, science and art. Before the mint was privatised in 2008, it was fully owned by the Government of Israel. Throughout the years, since its inception until the present, the mint has strictly maintained its original character and values, just as Ben Gurion envisioned.

ICMC’s spheres of activity

  • The ICMC issues the State Medals of Israel and is also commissioned by private organisations, enterprises and individuals to issue them with special customised medals
  • The ICMC issues gold and silver investment bars
  • The ICMC produces replicas of ancient coins excavated in Israel and sells authentic ancient coins licensed by the Israel Antiquities Authority
  • The ICMC designs, produces and sells original Israeli artwork
  • The ICMC designs, produces and sells jewellery in gold and other precious metals
  • The Bank of Israel usually issues five new commemorative coins in limited mintages, annually. Four of these coins are issued within series:
  • Biblical Art,
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel,
  • Views of Israel,
  • Jerusalem of Gold (Israeli gold investment coins).

A special commemorative coin is also issued each year in honour of Israel’s Independence Day, and is dedicated to one of the outstanding achievements of the State of Israel.

Commemorative coins issued by the Bank of Israel are struck in gold and silver. The 1 new shekel (Israeli official currency) and 2 new shekel coins are struck in silver, while the 5, 10 and 20 new shekels are struck in gold. In 2010, the Bank of Israel issued the first Israeli investment coin in a series entitled “Jerusalem of Gold”. The coin shows a view of the famous Jerusalem. This coin was limited to 3,600 and was struck in fine gold 999.9; it is 32 mm in diameter and weighs 1 oz. The price of these coins changes daily in accordance with the international gold spot price.

The ICMC is authorised to handle authentic ancient coins. In special collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the corporation has produced replicas of ancient coins, such as the coins found in Qumran and Masada According to the law of the United States of America, each replica bears the word “COPY” to avoid confusion with the original.

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