Glossary: new Israeli shekel (NIS)

In September 1985, the new Israeli shekel (NIS) went into circulation, replacing the Israeli shekel that had existed since 1980. (Before 1980 the Israeli currency was called the Israeli pound or lira.) The NIS is equivalent to 1,000 old Israeli shekels and is divided into 100 agorot. The requirement for the NIS stemmed from the very rapid inflation rate of the preceding years, which also resulted in dramatic devaluation of the old shekel against foreign currencies; for example, from 1980 to 1985 the old shekel lost value against the United States dollar by 25,000 percent. As of August 1986, the NIS was no longer pegged to the United States dollar but rather to a trade-weighted basket of foreign currencies: 60 percent United States dollar, 20 percent West German deutschmark, 10 percent British pound, 5 percent French franc, and 5 percent Japanese yen. The currency notes in circulation are 5, 10, 50, and 100 NIS.

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