President Rivlin trying to get Netanyahu and Gantz to sit together in a unity government. Amos Biderman in Haaretz.Photo Credit: Courtesy of Beit HaNasi

Exhibition: Israelis Laugh at their Presidents


An exhibition of cartoons of Israeli presidents over the years titled “Basic Law/Laugh: President of the State – Israeli presidents in cartoons” will open Monday night at Beit HaNasi, the presidential residence. The exhibition will also mark President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin’s 81st birthday.

President Ezer Weizman wins a second term / Dosh (Kariel Gardosh)

The exhibition was the initiative of Beit HaNasi’s curator Yuval Keshet, in consultation with the director of the visitors’ center Yinon Guttel-Klein and the assistance of the Israeli Cartoon and Comics Museum in Holon. On display are 24 cartoons of Israeli presidents over the years, works by Israeli artists Yosef Bass, Yosef Ross, Dosh (Kariel Gardosh), Arieh Navon, Ze’ev (Ya’akov Farkash), Peretz Weinreich, Shlomo Cohen, Shai Charki, Itamar Doeva, Boris Dickerman, Hanoch Piven, Jacky, Amos Biderman, Michel Kishka, Daniela London Dekel and Tal Lezer.

Pope Paul VI visits President Zalman Shazar / Ze-ev (Yaakov Farkash)

The cartoons depict the historic period in which they were published – including how Presidents Chaim Weizmann and Reuven Rivlin dealt with challenging election results, and President Yitzhak Navon and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat embraced peace.

Menachem Begin presents his religious-rightwing government to President Ephraim Katzir (Peretz Weinrich)

Some of the works describe key events in Israel’s history, including those which are relevant today. Others are portraits. In this way, the exhibition tells two stories – the history of Israel reflected beyond the institution of the presidency and the presidents themselves, and the story of the works and their creators. As President Rivlin put it, “Through all the chaos, it is important to laugh a little at ourselves, at the impossibility of our situation.”

Ruvi Rivlin, the adult in the room / Michel Kichka

The works will be on display for the public at the presidential residence starting Monday night. Reservations are required and, naturally, bring your face mask.