The Spirit of Srulik Remains Strong – Erez Ofer Explains
By Erez Ofer. I was first exposed to the character “Srulik” (שרוליק in Hebrew) while trying to not pass out during my early morning Ulpan class as a post undergraduate studies intern in the Career Israel program. One of the lesson plans involved a brief history of the founding years of the State of Israel, and it was here that Srulik leapt off the pages, grabbing my hand, insisting “!אחריי” (After me!) Several months later, after listening to my heart, I decided to stay in Tel Aviv, Israel, and make the big jump known as Aliyah. I have always been a fan of comics and caricatures and Srulik was the first Israeli cartoon hero to capture my imagination in the wild, wild land of Israel.
Srulik was originally illustrated by the Israeli cartoonist Kariel Gardosh in 1956 and often appeared in the newspaper Maariv. Srulik served as a national symbol for the early 1950′s Zionistic, pioneering spirit, dressed in his simple, recognizable “כובע טמבל”, a Kibbutznik outfit consisting of open toed Biblical sandals, khaki shorts and shirt, and a strong, proud facial expression to match. At times of war, Srulik became an Uncle Sam figure, quickly throwing on an IDF uniform, lacing up his polished black military boots, encouraging young Israelis to help defend their unstable nation. Srulik quickly became an emblem of the Strong Israeli Jewish “צבר” identity, in contrast and opposition to the propagandized stereotypical “slaughterhouse” World War II European Jew and the growing Anti-Jewish/Anti-Israeli sentiment from the surrounding Arab nations.
So why am I writing about Srulik? I do not watch much Television but I always look forward to getting home, plopping on my couch in boxer shorts alone (fall and winter call for a blanket as well), to watch commercial free recordings of my favorite Israeli TV show, the sharp, edgy, and inspirational (besides the bombardment of cat videos) late night show צינור לילה (HaZinor). The word Zinor in Hebrew means pipeline, pipe, hose, and/or tube, and the show HaZinor, hosted by the charismatic Guy Lerer, is an innovative program on Channel 10 each night around 12am that captures the highlights of the Internet and the virtual world daily. It was on HaZinor that I first heard about the song that literally rocked and foot stomped the globe, “Gangam Style” by PSY, when only a few million people had seen it (Currently there are more than 1 Billion views on Youtube). During this past month, the show HaZinor has offered the public a competition to create a 30 second promo for the show and I immediately knew that I wanted to participate. But how?
About a month ago, after a mindful Osho style meditation session, I received a vision in which I would dress up as a modern day, somewhat satirical 2012 version of Srulik, running around Israel with a garden hose (Zinor), connecting Israel from North to South, just as the show HaZinor connects the whole state of Israel with virtual and socially relevant media updates. Thanks to the help of several friends, over the past 3 weeks, I was able to begin my journey as Srulik from the northernmost point bordering Lebanon, Metulla, hosing my way through places like Haifa, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Sderot, and Jerusalem to name a few, ultimately ending in the southernmost point of Israel, Eilat. The journey included several setbacks and difficulties including filming and editing issues, losing a sandal, extreme wind, getting shat on by a bird in Sderot (at least it wasn’t a rocket), car problems on the way to Eilat and thunderstorms/floods. But like Srulik, I remained resilient and was able to proudly submit the promo entitled “שרוליק והצינור 2012″ (Srulik and the Hose 2012). For me, it was really important to add Sderot as a symbolic location due to the escalating rocket attacks in the region of Israel near the Gaza strip, and I luckily made it to a siren free Sderot several hours before the killing of the Hamas Militant leader, marking the beginning of the current military operation “Pillar of Cloud” and a shit load of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians in the South.
When I began filming, I had no idea that the day that I would submit the promo would be a day marked by war, injuries, bomb shelters, death, and rocket attacks. Even though I am currently nestled in Tel Aviv, the whole Central area of Israel yesterday felt the threat of incoming missiles as 2 sirens went off around 6:40pm, an unprecedented event since the Scud attacks of the Gulf War in 1991. Yesterday, “the Tel Aviv bubble burst” and the citizens of the central part of Tel Aviv experienced what the citizens of the south have been experiencing for the past several years. With the IDF’s emergency recruitment of 30,000 reservists, today, as tens of thousands of brave IDF warriors prepare for the next stage of operation Pillar of Cloud, the spirit of Srulik remains strong.
permission from http://israelseen.com