This is a cartoon created by the artist Ze’ev (Yaakov Farkash), showing a dove and a map of Israel in bed together with depressed expressions on their faces. On the night table next to the bed is a glass with an olive branch in it. The dove and the olive branch are both symbols of peace; the fact that they are in bed or resting in a glass indicates that they are not active. Both the dove and the map are imagining PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres jumping over a hurdle labelled “Oslo 2.” The image is repeated several times, giving the impression that the leaders are jumping over hurdles in an endless loop. This presumably hints at the disappointment at the time with the delays in the peace process.
In the bottom left-hand corner of the cartoon is a caricature that the artist used to depict himself. It is a man holding an oversized ink pen with ink dripping from it in one hand, while in the other he is holding a sign which says “A Happy New Year 5756” in three languages, Hebrew, English, and Hungarian, and is signed “Ze’ev.”
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Oslo II Accord – Oslo II, which was signed in Taba, Egypt, was an interim agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Oslo II created Areas A, B, and C in the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Each area was defined by a different status of administration, pending a final agreement at a later date. The Accords were first signed on September 24, 1995 by Israel and the PLO in Taba and then signed again in Washington, DC by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and witnessed by US President Bill Clinton. While many Israelis supported the Oslo Accords, many others opposed the agreement. A tragic result of the opposition to Oslo II was the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin on November 4, 1995.
Ze’ev – Yaakov Farkash (1923–2002), known as Ze’ev, was an Israeli cartoonist and illustrator. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Farkash survived the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. He then tried to enter Israel illegally during the British Mandate but was caught and sent by the British to an internment camp in Cyprus. Farkash finally arrived in Israel in 1947 and immediately fought in the War of Independence. When he began drawing political cartoons for newspapers, he signed them “Ze’ev” (wolf), which is a Hebrew translation of his Hungarian surname, Farkash. Ze’ev published cartoons in the Israeli newspapers Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv, and Davar Hashavua and the international newspapers The New York Times, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel. He had a great impact on Israeli caricaturists and is widely considered one of Israel’s greatest political cartoonists.
Shana Tova Cards - The earliest instance of a written “shana tova” greeting is a fourteenth-century letter written by the Ashkenazi rabbi known as the Maharil (Jacob ben Moses Moelin). This letter affirms the existence of this custom in German Jewish communities at the time. In the eighteenth century, the custom began spreading beyond the German-speaking realm to other large concentrations of Jews in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. By the end of the century, Shana Tova cards began to take on distinct characteristics, such as special writing paper, with the custom spreading throughout the entire Ashkenazi world during the nineteenth century. The postal service emerged around this time, and in the 1880s, Jewish entrepreneurs began to print commercial greeting Shana Tova cards. By this time, Shana Tova cards constituted the main body of postcards sent by Jews, and this would remain so for around 100 years.
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the end of First World War, a time known as the “Golden Age of Postcards,” the vast majority of the mail sent by Jews in Europe and America consisted of Shana Tova cards. Today, in the digital era, cards sent by post have given way to text messages and emails.