Matt ReingoldJul 11, 2022
Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons
Visual Discourses During the 2018-2021 Electoral Crisis
Lexington Books 2022
Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018-2021 Electoral Crisis (Lexington Books, 2022) by Matt Reingold, published by Lexington Books as part of its Lexington Studies in Jewish Literature series, offers an incisive—and prescient, given the recent dissolution of the incumbent government—consideration of how political cartoonists in Israel broaden the conversation about the various challenges faced by the country.
Organized thematically around issues that emerged at various points across the three-year period under consideration (including political mudslinging, the ultra-Orthodox community, the Coronavirus pandemic, and coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu in the right-leaning press), analysis of the cartoons complemented by interviews with many of the cartoonists whose works feature in the book, Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons moves the conversation about the Jewish State away from its typically partisan (and thus limiting) vistas. Reingold shows how with humor, satirical nous, and a sophisticated awareness of their audiences, the cartoonists’ work often cut across the traditional faultlines of Israeli society (Religious/Secular; Ashkenazi/Mizrachi; Cosmopolitan/Narrow; and of course, “Left”/”Right”), engaging with a more representative (if, of necessity, less tidy) discussion about Israel today.
As Israel prepares for its fifth election in three years, following the collapse of the most broad-based coalition government in the country’s history (led, not-entirely-incidentally, by the country’s first religiously observant prime minister), Reingold’s book gives nuance and context to the conversation about Israel in Israel.
Matt Reinhold has a PhD in Jewish Education. He teaches Jewish history and Jewish thought at Tanenbaum CHAT, a community Jewish high school in Toronto, Canada.
Akin Ajayi (@AkinAjayi) is a writer and editor, based in Tel Aviv.