Rivlin pokes cartoon fun at himself, previous presidents for his 81st birthday

President Reuven Rivlin turns 81 on Monday, a milestone he plans to celebrate by taking a lighthearted look at his office and his country’s history through an exhibition of Israeli cartoons.

The exhibit’s name — “Basic Law/Laugh: President of the State” — works better in Hebrew, where “law” (hok) and “laughter” (tzhok) are just one letter apart.

Rivlin has long been known for his sense of humor and good cheer.

A Sunday press release by his office quoted a speech Rivlin gave in 2015, in which he exhorted: “Through all the chaos, it is important to laugh a little at ourselves, at the impossibility of our situation.”

Cartoon of Albert Einstein refusing an offer to serve as Israel’s second president, drawn by cartoonist Joseph Bass and published in Haaretz in 1952. (Joseph Bass/President’s Residence)

Twenty-four cartoons are part of the exhibition, which opens Monday at the President’s House.

The initiative is a joint effort of Rivlin’s office and the Israeli Cartoon and Comics Museum in the central Israeli city of Holon.

It includes humorous depictions of Israel’s past heads of state, and of the current one, as well as commentary on major events in Israel’s history like the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords.

According to the President’s House, the artists included in the exhibit are 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.

A cartoon showing world leaders gathered to pay their respects at the funeral of President Shimon Peres, long derided as a political ‘loser’ by his opponents, who says from his grave, ‘So I’m a loser??’ Drawn by Boris Dickerman and published by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily on November 19, 2016. (courtesy of Yedioth Ahronoth/President’s Residence)

Monday is Rivlin’s 81st birthday on the Hebrew calendar. His Gregorian calendar birthday was last Wednesday.

Cartoon of Pope Paul VI visiting Israel – birthplace of Judaism and Christianity – and being greeted by President Zalman Shazar, drawn by cartoonist Ze’ev (Yaakov Farkash) and published in Haaretz, January 5, 1964. (Yaakov Farkash/President’s Residence)

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