A group of Religious Zionist rabbis suggested that Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the forefather of Religious Zionism, be included among the figures to be commemorated on Israel's new banknotes.
"This idea comes to make historical justice with the man who was one of the most important figures in the history of Zionism and the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel," the rabbis explained.
Spearheading the effort is the Religious Zionist candidate for the position of Jerusalem's chief rabbi, Rabbi Arieh Stern. He sent a letter on the matter to Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz asking him to pass it on to the Public Committee for the Design of Banknotes. Among Stern's claims was the argument that such a move "would help rectify the relationship between Religious Zionism and the State."
According to Stern, the Religious Zionism movement will thus be returned to its worthy spot as a central and important element in country's culture, "much of which is still due to the influence and teachings of Rav Kook."
Stern wrote, "There is not room here to elaborate on all of his teachings, but suffice it to mention his involvement during the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, his well-known writings during his tenure as the chief rabbi of Jaffa, and later in Jerusalem in the institution of Israel's Chief Rabbinate. Rav Kook was someone who advocated more than anyone else for Jewish outreach and for integrating the idea of a Jewish state into the system of religion, Torah, and faith."
Rabbi Stern, who serves as chairman of the Rav Kook House Foundation in Jerusalem, has thus far garnered the support of members of Knesset, public figures, and rabbis.
"If prime ministers, presidents, and cultural figures are awarded this honor, it is only natural that Rav Kook, who founded the Chief Rabbinate and is a central figure in the renaissance of the Jewish people, be recognized in this manner," he explained.
"Rav Kook is not a narrow sectorial figure," added Rabbi Stern. "History books of Israel's revival have set aside a place of honor for Rav Kook, an important thinker, who emphasized in his writings the value of all of Israel, regardless of sector. His thought is replete with plans for the nation of Israel and its revival. He was the first to give the State of Israel religious value – the start of redemption."