New Israeli Coins Honor Nobel Peace Prize of Menachem Begin – and Jimmy Carter


israeli-coinThe latest coin issue from the Bank of Israel and the last one of 2010 is dedicated to Prime Minister Menachem Begin and his Nobel Peace Prize. It is the second issue in a series devoted to Israel’s Nobel┬áPrize winners (the first was for Shmuel Yosef Agnon who was awarded the prize for Literature in 1966).

Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Yerushalayim in 1977 was one of the first steps in the peace process known as the Camp David Accords. These eventually led to a negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt which was signed in Washington, DC on March 26, 1979. It was the first such agreement between Israel and any of its Arab neighbors and in recognition of their historic endeavor, Sadat and Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. When he accepted the award in Oslo, Begin said “I thank you for the great distinction. It does not, however, belong to me; it belongs to my people and renaissant nation that came back in love and devotion to the land of its ancestors, after centuries of homelessness and persecution.”

The profile bust of the prime minister on the obverse of the coin was sculpted by Tidhar Dagan based on a design byMeir Eshel. The legend “Menachem Begin, Nobel Peace Prize” is engraved around the perimeter in English and Hebrew with the date “1978” in between.

The side bearing the face value was designed by Gideon Keich and shows a faithful recreation of one of the most memorable handshakes in history – that between President Sadat, President Jimmy Carter and Premier Begin on the lawn of the White House after they signed the peace treaty. This is the first time that an American president is portrayed on an Israeli coin. In addition to the denomination and date, the obverse legend is repeated in Arabic.

Israel’s other Nobel Prize winners are Daniel Kahneman, Economics, 2002; Avram Hershko, Chemistry, 2004; Aaron Ciechanover, Chemistry, 2004; Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres, Peace, 1994; and Robert Aumann, Economics, 2005. Next year’s issue will honor Rabin.

{Yair Israel}


  1. Abbas and Abu Mazen were left out! This is unacceptable! What about achtungmeinjihad? Why don’t the Israelis make a coin with his head on it?