Do you know Ephraim Kishon? He died today in his 80s and is currently out of print in the UK, which says perhaps something about the position of Israeli writers in the contemporary anglophone Western intellectual conscience. True, What makes Kishon hard to digest to some is his defending of the Israeli position for example in the Suez crisis. He is an Israeli of the old school. Nevertheless he had hoped for the implementation of the Camp David peace initiative, and felt that Palestinians were put against Israelis by Arab leaders using the Palestinians for political gains, rather than to allow a peace with Israel. He called them a greatly talented people yet to emerge. Once, in the 50s, 60s and 70s Kishon was more popular, as the memory of the shoa was vivid and an interest in the Jewish state more sympathetic. This fact explains why Kishon was popular and loved until today in Germany where holocaust memories are very much alive and with it a genuine want to know more on Israel and not just Palestine.
Whatever your position I recommend to those of you who escaped Kishon, and who are still open minded on Israel, to order some books by him. His very comical satrires of life in Israel are a key to understand something of the Israeli psyche, albeit mostly pre Intifada. At the end of the day you will have something to laugh at, for Kishon attacks ridiculous bureaucracy, hard core positions in Israel, fascism up to the the religious and that ever character you may have.
Kishon was born in Hungary as Ferenc Hoffmanand and his family and himself were heavily taxed by the Nazi expansion and prosecution of Jews. One of his first satires dealt with this period, where he invented a state that prosecuted bold-heads. Kishon emigrated to Israel after the war where he first lived in a Kibbutz. He spent his last years of life in Switzerland since 1981.
Some of the filmed books can be bought here (trusted site I bought from there).
Monday, January 31, 2005