October 15, 2002
Yaakov Farkash, known by the pen name Ze’ev and considered the father of Israeli political cartoons, dies at age 79 near Tel Aviv.
Farkash was born in Budapest in 1923. After surviving Buchenwald and Dachau during the Holocaust, Farkash was introduced to Zionism in a refugee camp. He made his way to Palestine with his wife, Miriam, in 1947 after being held in a prison camp on Cyprus. He fought with the IDF at Latrun in 1948.
Farkash survived by working as a construction worker by day and selling drawings on the side until 1953, when his first cartoon was published in Omer, a newspaper for immigrants. Farkash then met Efraim Kishon, an editor for the newspaper Maariv, which began publishing his cartoons daily under the name Ze’ev. He chose the name because its Hebrew meaning, “wolf,” was similar to his surname in Hungarian.
Haaretz began publishing his drawings in a weekly column in 1962, and he stayed with the paper until October 2001. His drawings regularly took up full pages to address a variety of topics.
His famous works included portraying PLO leader Yasser Arafat with bomb-shaped sunglasses until the Oslo Accords of 1993. He depicted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and U.S. President Jimmy Carter with a dove of peace acting as a magician during the negotiations for the Camp David Accords. Public figures, mainly politicians, vied for spots among Ze’ev’s weekly caricatures.
He eventually passed his knowledge of political cartoons to students Michel Kichka and Nimrod Reshef.
Ze’ev received the Israel Prize for journalism in 1993. The prize jury said he “established the daily political cartoon as an essential and inseparable aspect of Israeli journalism in its task of expressing matters of distinct public importance.”