Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday with an exhibition of 24 cartoons of previous presidents, opened at Beit Hanasi, his official residence in Jerusalem.
Sixteen different cartoonists, past and present, are represented in the exhibition, devised with the assistance of the Israeli Cartoon and Comics Museum in Holon, near Tel Aviv..
President Rivlin, renowned for his open sense of fun, told the cartoonists: “I know that the situation we are in at the moment doesn’t particularly lend itself to laughter, but if there is one thing I learnt during my years in Israeli politics, and in general, it is that even when you are dealing with the most serious issues, it is important to leave some room for humour; it’s important to laugh. To laugh at the situation and at ourselves”.
He emphasised his belief that “satirical criticism can make us stronger”, enjoying the flavour of a good joke.
To his surprise, and to celebrate, the Beit HaNasi staff produced a birthday cake with a cartoon of President Rivlin, by Tal Lezer, on it. “They say 81, but I feel 18,” he said with a smile, pointing to the candles on the cake.