The Bank of Israel has launched (20th April) new collector coins marking the country’s 72nd anniversary of independence. This important national event is marked with collector coins issued annually and with their release, a new theme and particular element of the country is highlighted. For 2020, the theme focuses on agriculture in Israel, which is one of the world’s leading nations of innovation in desert agriculture specifically.
Agriculture in the Negev Desert already existed in ancient times, and with the establishment of the modern state in 1948, the dream of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was to make the desert bloom. Ben-Gurion strongly encouraged settlement of the Negev and Judean deserts, but with the underlying fact that 60 percent of Israel’s territory was desert land, there was a need to overcome the challenges of a hot, dry climate, something Israel achieved with success. Use of advanced technology and techniques led to the production of some of the world’s highest and best agricultural yields in desert conditions, in relatively small areas. As the country’s population grew, agricultural areas diminished in size and it became even more critical to take advantage of the Negev Desert region. The need for water conservation also led to the development of hydroponics, the most efficient means of irrigation, including the use of recycled water and drip irrigation, was initially developed in Israel. The saline water from the desert was found sufficient enough for olives to thrive. Today, fruit and vegetables, including some of the world’s sweetest cherry tomatoes, are grown in abundance in hi-tech greenhouses with some items regularly exported. In the southern Negev, where, 2,000 years ago, the Nabateans found favourable conditions for cultivating grapevines. In the Arava in the far south and further north in the Jordan Valley, the popular Medjoul dates are grown with an emphasis on the tasty “bonbon” variety, which are exported to about 30 different countries. Meeting the challenges of the desert has created a “desert revolution” in Israel, the seeds of which have become distributed all over the world. Many other countries, also coping with these same climatic challenges today, look to Israel for help and inspiration.
Created by the E R DESIGN TEAM LTD., which is located in Gan Soreq, Israel, the reverse design includes the border inscription “Desert Agriculture” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, each separated by sprigs of olive branches. On the left side is a representation of the intense desert sun, greenhouses, and rectangles of a histogram, signifying control of growth conditions in the greenhouses. On the right side are panels for the production of solar energy, grapevines, peppers, and tomato vines, representing the fruits and vegetables grown in the Negev. Below are drops of water and pipes symbolising the drip irrigation process.
The obverse side of the new coins is shared across the three denominations and two metal options, which includes the Israeli state emblem, the word “Israel” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, “Independence Day 2020” in English and Hebrew, the face value, which is centred, and mint mark Mem (מ) for Proof quality strikes. Behind the face value is an element representing the hot desert sun. In the lower border, artistic elements represent tomatoes and grapes grown in the Negev Desert.
|14.4 g||30 mm||Prooflike||
|31.1 g||38.7 mm||Proof||
|16.96 g||30 mm||Proof||
Each coin is encapsulated and presented individually in a custom Holyland Mint-branded case and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Pre-issue ordering is now in effect, subject to Ministry of Health instructions regarding COVID-19 restrictions, and delivery will commence within six weeks of receipt of order. For additional information about these coins and others issued by the Bank of Israel, please visit the website of the Holy Land Mint / Israel Coins and Medals Corporation.