Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer was set to reveal to the cabinet on Sunday the new shekel bills that will bear the images of poets Nathan Alterman, Rachel Bluwstein, Shaul Tchernichovsky and Leah Goldberg.
The first two of the new currency notes to be put into circulation in the second half of 2013 will be green 50 shekel bills featuring Tchernichovsky and blue 200 shekel bills featuring Alterman. The other two new notes, red 20 shekel bills featuring Bluwstein and orange 100 shekel bills featuring Goldberg, will be issued at the start of 2014.
The new currency notes will have advanced security features and be designed in a way to make it easier for the blind to distinguish them.
Shas MK Aryeh Deri was critical that none of the new shekel bills feature a Mizrahi, a Jew of Middle Eastern origin.
"I call on government ministers not to vote in favor of the new bills," Deri said. "It can't be that they couldn't find one Mizrahi poet to put on a bill. This is a direct continuation of the exclusion of Mizrahim from the Israel Prize and from all decision-making centers in the State of Israel."
At the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support for including a Mizrahi poet the next time new shekel bills are issued. Netanyahu suggested Rabbi Yehuda Halevi as a candidate.