The Bank of Israel Currency Department operates under the authorities set out in the Bank of Israel Law, and is the only entity authorized to issue banknotes, coins and commemorative coins and to regulate the currency system in Israel. The Currency Department is thus responsible for the country’s cash, from the stage of planning the alignment of quantities of cash with forecast demand, through the design, selection and integration of security features and issue of banknotes, coins, and commemorative coins, to the regulation of the cash system’s operation.
The data presented in this report shows that the volume of cash circulation in the State of Israel continues to increase consistently each year, despite the availability of advanced electronic means of payment. It should be emphasized that the role of the Currency Department is to supply cash in accordance with actual demand during routine times and emergencies. Alongside the supply of cash in accordance with demand, the Department acts to protect the currency from counterfeits, and to maintain adequate quality of the cash in circulation.
The widespread activity of the Department is carried out through the Issuance Division, the Cash Management Division and the Policy Unit, which is responsible for policy, planning and control over the currency system in Israel. This activity includes the minting of coins and the printing of banknotes of the required quantity and quality according to the needs of cash circulation, the sorting and counting of hundreds of millions of banknotes and coins using advanced technology, storing them in vaults for routine and contingency needs, and distributing to the banking system for use by the public.
The Department is responsible for the integration of advanced security features into the banknotes, formulating criteria for the quality and control of cash, providing training for banking corporations’ cash centers and supervising them, public information, and counterfeit prevention activities in conjunction with the Israel Police and other parties.
The launch of the new NIS 50 banknote is an important milestone in the new banknote series project being led by the Currency Department, and drew broad attention. On the 21st of Elul 5774 / September 16, 2014, the new NIS 50 banknote was put into circulation, following the approval of its final design by the Public Committee for the Planning of Banknotes, Coins and Commemorative Coins under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court Justice, the Hon. Jacob Turkel, as well as the Governor of the Bank of Israel, the Supervisory Council, and the Government of Israel. The launch was preceded by a broad public information campaign and advanced operational preparations, including the planning and design of the banknote and its security features, the production of the banknote, meticulous quality control, and preparations both at the Bank of Israel and in the market as a whole. Due to the thorough advanced preparations on the operational level, the entry of the new NIS 50 banknote into circulation was successful, the replacement of the banknotes in circulation is being carried out on an ongoing basis, and as of the end of July 2015, about 70 percent of the NIS 50 banknotes in circulation are from the new series.
Putting a banknote into circulation is a step that requires preparation and acclimation of the public. During the period of the switch, awareness of the security features on the banknote is of particular importance, because it is likely that counterfeiters will try to exploit the public’s lack of acquaintance with the characteristics of the new banknote to criminally distribute copied banknotes and counterfeits in general. Since this is a phenomenon known around the world, the Currency Department acted to provide the public with the tools and means to get to know the new banknote and its security features ahead of time, through public information pamphlets in a variety of languages, broad information on the newbanknotes.org.il website, and a mobile application. The security features included on the new banknotes are prominent and clear. They are intended to make it difficult for counterfeiters and to assist the public in identifying genuine banknotes. Information on the security features can be found in this report. We recommend that the public use the variety of advanced security features to make sure that the banknotes in its possession are genuine.
The Currency Department continues to advance the new banknotes series project, and is preparing toward the launch of the remaining denominations in the next few years. In addition, the Department acted during 2014 to draft rules regulating currency in Israel in accordance with the Bank of Israel Law. These rules were published on June 21, 2015 and came into effect 60 days later.
This report includes broad and detailed information on the Department’s activity during the past year. More information can be found on the Department’s website at www.boi.org.il/en/currency. The Bank of Israel attributes importance to maintaining close contact with the public and to increasing awareness regarding currency both on the academic level—acquaintance with the history of Israeli currency—and on the practical level: informed consumer behavior, acquaintance with the security features on the banknotes, and the responsible use of banknotes and coins.