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Agora (plural Agorot)The smallest unit of Israeli currency, not necessarily minted as a coin. One hundred agorot equal one new Israeli shekel. The New Shekel is the Israeli standard Unit of currency.

The name agora actually refers to three kinds of currencies that were used in Israel throughout its history, all of them have been subdivisions of the main currency units.

This name "agroa" was first used for the first time in 1960, when the Israeli government decided to change the subdivision of the Israeli lira (a.k.a Israeli pound) from 1000 prutot to 100 agorot. The name was suggested by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, and was borrowed from the Hebrew Bible, I Samuel 2:36 ...every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver... (the term "piece of silver" appears in Hebrew as "agorat kessef").

In 1980 the Israeli lira was abolished and replaced by the shekel at a rate of 10 IP per 1 shekel. The new subdivision of the shekel was named agora ħadasha ("new agora"). There were 100 new agorot in 1 Shekel. The high rate of inflation in Israel in the early 1980s forced the Israeli government to change the Israeli currency once again in 1985. The new shekel was introduced at a rate of 1000 S per 1 NS. The name agora was used once again for its subdivision. This time the term "new" was avoided, in order to prevent confusion with the older subdivision (the pre-1980 agora was long since out of circulation). Currently, the term agora refers to the 100th part of the new shekel. There are coins of 10 and 50 agorot, though the 50 agorot coin bears the inscription: " New Shekel".

A coin of 1 agora was in use until April 1, 1991 a coin of 5 agorot was in use until January 1, 2008 when the Bank of Israel decided to take them out of circulation, due to high cost of production. Today, when paying in cash, the price must be rounded to the nearest multiple of 10 agorot. When buying several items, the rounding is done for the total sum. There is no rounding when paying in cheques, credit cards or bank orders.

Ami Isseroff

February, 11 2011

Synonyms and alternate spellings:  

Further Information: 

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions::

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

chh - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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