Article - Israel in Comics and Caricatures - 70 Years 27/5/2018
Israel in Comics and Caricatures – 70 Years
Caricatures and comics have been a part of our world for many years, providing an amusing and oftentimes sarcastic look at our lives. Every self-respecting newspaper devotes space to these cheerful doodles, which are frequently thought provoking and even piercing and prickly.
In Israel, the words "comics" and "caricature" are used in Hebrew in their transliterated forms, despite past attempts to establish Hebrew terms to replace them.
As part of the celebrations for Israel's 70 Years of Independence, Michel Kichka illustrated three lighthearted and humoristic stamps depicting how far the State and citizens of Israel have come from 1948 to 2018. The first stamp takes us back to the "days of innocence", a time when the most popular vehicle was the tractor and agriculture was the top priority for Israel's heads of state and the majority of its population. Every tourist and guest was invited to see the Israeli wonder – the kibbutz. The stamp tab rounds out the periodic image: a transistor radio, which was an exciting new technological invention that did not have to be plugged into the electricity, a glass of seltzer and a falafel, the national food.
The next phase began nearly twenty years later, symbolized by the armed Israeli who replaced the tractor with a military jeep. Between the mid-1960's and the mid-1980's Israel was involved in four wars: the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War and the First Lebanon War. Between these wars there were oftentimes other military actions and operations as well. There were military triumphs during this period, such as the Six Day War and Operation Entebbe, but there were also wars and battles that ended with many casualties, like the Yom Kippur War. The stamp tab features symbols of the time: a black and white television with the Channel One logo, a soft drink bottle and a hamburger.
And then we arrive at the turning point in the 1990's and early 2000's. The typical Israeli is now out of the car and pushing a full supermarket cart. The idealistic society that existed in the early years of the country and was enlisted in the following years made way for an individualistic consumer society. The water towers and red roofs of the early towns have been replaced by skyscrapers. Our lifestyle and equipment have changed as well. Mr. and Mrs. Israeli now have a laptop, a glass of wine and a plate of sushi on their table.
Thus, these simple and amusing yet thought provoking illustrations have been a constant presence for these 70 years – proud of the achievements, concerned about the flaws, but as Eli Mohar wrote in the Convoy Song: "Israel is growing around us, stronger than all our shortcomings".
Dr. Mordechai Naor
With thanks to the series consultant Eli Eshed and to Meir Eshel for his design assistance.
Description of the Stamp Sheet Center
The center of the Stamp Sheet features more and less-well known characters from Israeli caricatures, comics and animated films. They are all good representatives of the times and period in which they were created. All of the characters are smiling and looking toward the group photo. But the photographer is taking a selfie rather than focusing on them.
This is a tribute to the field and also an indirect nod to the creators and newspapers in which they were published.
These are the names of the characters and their creators, in random order:
King Solomon (Hanan Kaminski), Friedel Stern (Friedel Stern collection, The Israeli Museum of Caricature and Comics, Holon), Sabraman (Uri Fink and David Harman), Gilad Seliktar, Super Shlumper (Uri Fink), The Sabra (Arie Navon), Nusko (Nissim Hizkiyahu), The Realist (Asaf Hanuka), Shoshke (Zeev Engelmayer), Uzi (Nimrod Reshef), Mister T (Michel Kichka), Racheli Shalev, Israeli (Moshik Lin), Shlomo Cohen, Uri-On (Michael Netzer), Falafel Man (Dorit Maya-Gur), Dry Bones (Yaacov Kirschen).
Guy Morad, Liav Zabari, Shlomi the Guard (Noam Nadav), Panda (Noam Nadav), The Duck (Dudu Geva), The Dudu Geva character (Hanoch Piven), The Clerk (Dudu Geva), Shmulik Katz, Cutie (Daniella London-Dekel), Daniella (Daniella London-Dekel), Fat Man (Tsahi Farber), Arthur (Dubi Keich), Rafi and Spaghetti (Ilana Zeffren), Erez Zadok, Mole (Daniel Goldstein), Shay Cherka, Vladik Sandler, Man (Itzik Renart), Noa Katz, Srulik (Dosh – Kariel Gardosh, courtesy of the Gardosh family), Ze'ev Yaakov Farkash (courtesy of The Israeli Museum of Caricature and Comics, Holon and Ze'ev's daughters), Maya from Zbeng (Uri Fink), Waltz with Bashir (David Polonsky and Ari Folman), Charter (Shay Cherka), Guy Harlap, Yonatan Wachsmann, Amitay Sandy, Orit Arif.
With thanks to the series consultant Eli Eshed and to Meir Eshel for his design assistance