The 50 Shekel Banknote – ‘I Believe’


No, this is not another Martin Luther King story. But perhaps you might say that the Israeli poet who I am about to discuss can be regarded as the person who could have become MLK’s speechwriter.

When I originally began writing this Blog, I focused on a series of stories TOI published about an 8 year old Palestinian boy who was found dead in a rain-filled pit in Beit Hanina. This story made International headlines because it was first reported that this boy had been kidnapped by “Israeli Settlers” .

I was motivated to write about this in a recent Blog because I wanted to explain that our family lived among those” Israeli Settlers”.  Neve Yaakov was the “settlement” the media was referring to and that’s where we first moved to after leaving the absorption center. Beit Hanina is located next to Neve Yaakov.

One key fact in the abovementioned story involves a 50 Shekel Note. Before continuing any further, I want to bring in another piece of information, which I recently displayed regarding the 1880 series US$ 50 Bill and Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin currently appears on the US $100 Bill, and “Squad member” Omar mentioned this in reference to an Anti –Semitic troupe she used more than one year ago.

Omar did not realize that her reference to  Benjamin Franklin could also point to the older version of the US$50 Bill as well.  And with that in mind, I want to point out the following-

According to the true story that eventually surfaced, the 8 year old boy was sent to the store by his family to purchase certain items. On his way, he apparently slipped and fell into a rain-filled pit. When he did not return home, an Israeli search and rescue party was sent out to look for the boy, and their search centered on the rain-filled pit. After many hours, the boy’s body was located in the pit. And he was clutching a 50 Shekel note.

There are many things to discuss regarding this incident, however  given the current situation that we all find ourselves in, I have changed the focus of this Blog to concentrate on something far more important. That is to give us comfort during this uncertain time.

By bringing my attention to the fact that Benjamin Franklin also appeared on the $50 Bill at one stage, that’s one of the reasons I decided to do more research regarding the person featured on the 50 Shekel Note.

Only the 50 Shekel Note Today Is Green, the same color of The US $50 Bill

The Israeli Central Bank has issued many series of banknotes since The State Of Israel was established. When each new series is created, in many cases, the colors on each banknote change. In the latest series that is currently in circulation, the 50 Shekel Note is green.

Pictured on the 50 Shekel Note is Shaul Tchernichovsky.

Shaul Gutmanovich Tchernichovsky (20 August 1875 – 14 October 1943; Hebrew: שאול טשרניחובסקי‎; Russian: Саул Гутманович Черниховский) was a Russian-born Hebrew poet. He is considered one of the great Hebrew poets, identified with nature poetry, and as a poet greatly influenced by the culture of ancient Greece.

One of his earliest poems is titled “I Believe”, which became a classic.

Written long before the State of Israel was established, the poet talks about  liberty and social justice. He is also hopeful that one day we will all see universal peace.  And in the sixth and seventh stanzas he expresses his hope for the Zionist future in “the land.”

The stanza of the poem referring to universal peace appears below-

From The Poem “I Believe” by Shaul Tchernichovsky

And I shall keep faith in the future,
Though the day be yet unseen
Surely it will come when nations
All live in blessed peace.

*          *              *             *           *

Shaul Tchernichovsky lived during the time the Nazi’s rose to power, but passed away before he could see the State of Israel gain its Independence.

There’s hardly a town in Israel that doesn’t have a street or a school named after him.

There was a song composed to the tune of a Russian folk song based on this poem.

It was suggested that this song be an alternative for the national anthem, “Hatikvah.” After reading these special words, I would highly agree, and perhaps you would too.

May we all live to see the day that  makes this poet’s wishes come true, a day when universal peace arrives in the world. Perhaps the Coronavirus is the wakeup call that we all need to make this happen sooner than later.

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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