The new 2-shekel coin was introduced into circulation Sunday.
A statement by the Bank of Israel said that the new currency is expected to bring major savings in emission costs and help make small business transactions more efficient by reducing the number of currency units involved.
A survey taken by the bank prior to the decision to issue the new currency indicated that the public was in favor of ushering a new coin into daily use.
The coin was designed by noted artist Reuven Nutels; it is made of steel and covered in silver-colored nickel. The coin is 21.6 mm in diameter, weighs 5.7 grams and is 2.3 mm thick.
The coin is stamped with the words "2 new shekels" and "Israel" in Hebrew, English and Arabic on one side, and with an ancient Johanan Horcanus coin insignia depicting an adorned horn of plenty and a pomegranate on the other. The coin's center in embedded with the State emblem.