Information pamphlet about the exhibit
Students for Museum Studies at the University of Haifa have put together an exhibit entitled, "Still Optimistic: Israeli Society through Caricature." On display until the end of this month, the exhibit features caricatures and cartoons addressing a broad spectrum of issues that Israel is and has been facing for at least the past decade and a half. With so many excellent cartoons, it was very difficult to pick a favourite. Instead, I chose to highlight a few which resonated with me for different reasons.
This cartoon by Moshik Lin (2005) portrays globalization/Americanization, but with a local, ironic twist: the English signs and international companies dot a street named after Eliezer Ben Yehuda, considered the "reviver" of spoken Hebrew.
Eran Wolkowski (July 2006) displays the absurdity of the Second Lebanon War, when residents of northern Israel were under fire or had fled south, while life in Tel Aviv went on as usual. The mother, carrying beach equipment, looks at the מקלט - bomb shelter - which is locked and unused. Tel Avivians are often criticized for "living in a bubble."
Israeli teachers are known to receive pitiful salaries. Pointing to the person next to him, the homeless man tells the woman dropping the coin in his cup, "He intends to become a teacher, so he's doing his internship with me" (Shlomo Cohen, 2007). This was also the year that teachers went on strike for over two months.
"And who the hell are you?" Moses asks the Sudanese refugees he encounters in the desert (Daniela London-Dekel, 2007). The issue of what should be done with the Sudanese and other African refugees crossing into Israel is still a contentious topic which has yet to be properly resolved.
Lastly, I thought this cartoon, which is also by Moshik Lin and perfectly relates to the title of the exhibit, was brilliant. The man follows the arrow labeled, "It'll be fine," which is the answer to any and every problem in Israel, on these Escheresque stairs.