Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Still Optimistic: Israeli Society through Caricature"

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."

Also in 2006, a couple of very high-ranking Israeli politicians were embroiled in sexual harassment cases. The scandals were viewed as a turning point by many who thought that it was time that sexual harassment was addressed in a more serious manner, similar to North America. (Caricature by Moshik Lin.)

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.


Criticker said...

Hello Criticker is back:
Here are my favorite ones in descending order.
1. The one with the teacher
2. the one with Moses
3. the one with the dog

Very nicely.

Noah K said...

Hilarious, made my day -- thanks Carmia.

underpaid teacher said...

The one about the teacher is actually not funny!!!
It's sad!!
But maybe thats the whole idea?

Nobody said...


You may want to check the comments here. No need to publish this comment

Nobody said...

Announcing my candidacy for president of Palestine

Carmia said...

Nobody -
Bradley Burston at Haaretz has written on this as well at

Nobody said...


The Moslem Population in Israel