Pixelated 1954

One of the new banknotes issued by the Bank of Israel in December 2017 is a 100 Sheqalim note bearing the portrait of Leah Goldberg, one of the most prominent and prolific poets, authors and playwrights of Hebrew literature. Leah Goldberg's body of work addresses biographic and personal issues and the landscapes of Israel, among other things.


In 1954, while still regarded as a new immigrant, Paul Kor was invited to design banknotes for the Bank of Israel.

The State of Israel was still young, so Paul Kor painted a construction worker building the country, a scientist at the Weizmann Institute and many other images.


The painting style Kor used was a form of cubism – the entire canvas was made up of tiny pixels, as if those banknotes had been drawn by a computer – although Paul Kor never touched a computer in his life.

Painter Mordechai Ardon, who was a member of the design competition committee, told Paul Kor: "My dear friend, you are ahead of your time. This is still unacceptable." Paul Kor won a special commendation for his banknote designs.


The banknotes Paul Kor had designed for the Bank of Israel were eventually issued in 1975. Here is one example:


Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima My Love)

The film, “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (1959), directed by Alain Resnais and based on a screenplay by Marguerite Duras, was set in Hiroshima at the end of World War II. As an anti-war film showcasing the devastating impact of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it became regarded as one of the most important films of the French New Wave movement. Paul Kor saw this film three times at the old Eden cinema in Tel-Aviv. He had designed a similarly provocative cover for a book dealing with the tragedy of Hiroshima in August of 1945.

His work depicted the mushroom cloud of ash that Hiroshima survivors reported seeing when the huge fireball exploded and cast a sheen of darkness onto the area. Around 250,000 people perished in the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima.

On July 14, 2015, the superpowers of the West reached an agreement for having Iran's military nuclear program discontinued. Additionally, an agreement was signed with Iran to restrict its nuclear potential for a period of fifteen years. Kor was an adamant advocate of peace and love, and he would have supported today’s effort of western countries to oppose the use of nuclear weapons.