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Sir Moses Montefiore, The Jewish Baron: 10 Lirot (Israel, 1973)-Article

Updated: Jan 7

This Israeli banknote represents the 2nd denomination of the Israeli Lira/Pound (4th Series, 1975). The 4th Series set the standard for later Israeli banknotes, with its less cluttered, modernist design. It's notes introduced more defined color-coding and blind assistance measures. Thus greatly improving their general practicality, particularly amongst the elderly and disabled.

On 1 January 1986, the Israeli Lira/Pound was replace by the short-lived (Old) Shekel. The exchange rate was 10 Lira/Pounds to 1 Shekel. Notably as an expedient measure, the first 4 denominations of the Shekel were based on the 4th Series Lira. These reissued notes were simply revalued by 1/10th, matching the exchange rate.


The observe features a portrait of Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885). Sir Montefiore was a wealthy British banker, known for his philanthropy. As a Sephardi Jew, he provided economic assistance to Jewish communities in Ottoman Palestine (Israel/Lebanon/Syria). Mishkenot Sha'ananim (Peaceful Dwellings) was amongst his most successful project.

The note's background depicts the Montefiore Windmill and Mishkenot Sha'ananim guesthouse, in Jerusalem. The Mishkenot Sha'ananim was the first relatively modern (1860) Jewish settlement, built outside Jerusalem's Old City. Restoration efforts were undertaken after the Israeli victory, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The guesthouse is now a historic landmark.

To the left of Sir Montefiore are lines of Hebrew script (read right to left). The upper left text (עשר לירות ישראליות) translates to "10 Israeli Lirot", listing the note's value. Which is confirmed by number "10"s on the upper left and right. While the text on the lower left (בנק יששל), translated to the "Bank of Israel" the note's issuer. The fine text below (התשל"ג 1973) is the note's issue date.

To read the note's Hebrew date (5733) it must be converted. The Hebrew calendar expresses years alpha-numerically, where numbers are expressed by letters within the Hebrew alphabet. The system is similar, although more comprehensive than the Ethiopian Ge'ez dating. It's use remains mainly due to historic tradition. As common era (Christian) dating is both understood by Israeli citizens (evidenced by the "1973" date) and is considerably more practical.

To the far left is the note's watermark area. This watermark area features a mirrored portrait of Sir Montefiore, in profile. Below are a pair of signatures belonging to Bank of Israel officials. The signature to the right belongs to Bank Governor (נגיד הבנק) Moshe Sanbar. While the signature to the left belongs to Advisory Council Chairman (המועצה המייעצת יושב‎ דאש) David Horowitz. The striped circles printed below, are a blind assistance measure.


The reverse depicts the Jaffa Gate, at the Old City of Jerusalem. The gate receives its name from the port city of Jaffa. As it was the gate used by merchants trading between the two cities. The gate is "L" shaped used to slow down attackers. Controversially Ottoman authorities breached the gate in 1998. To allow German Emperor Wilhelm II to triumphally enter the Old City.

This illustration of the Jaffa Gate serves as the note's main art area. Notably the reverse is multi-lingual, with various scripts. The text located at the bottom (English/Latin Script), header (Hebrew), and the far left (Arabic). All translated to "Bank of Israel", the before mentioned issuer of the note. Symbolically the script styles represent the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The note's value is listed numerically at each corner. Notably the numerals at the watermark area play a key feature. This note features Eastern Arabic Numerals ("١٠"/10) only on the lower right. There are dual-serial numbers (1744308927) located at the far left and lower right corner. They are used as a standard anti-counterfeit measure


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 141 x 76 mm or 5.55 x 2.99 in, larger than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are large sized protective sleeves.

  • The Israeli Shekel ISO code was ILP, it used both and ל"י‎ as symbols.

  • The Israeli Lira was subdivided into 100 Agora, coins were in Agora and Lira values.

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