The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Originally published at:

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames – a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka’s comics.

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I’m missing something here…

Cory seems to think Mizarhim are an “ethnic minority of Arab-passing, Middle-Eastern-descended, Jewish-identifying Jews”. Putting aside what “Jewish-identifying Jews” might mean, Mizarhim are actually the majority in Israel.


Somehow this does seem to confuse some diaspora Ashkenazi Jews.

EDIT: I should have put a big flaming /S at the end of my previous post…

Cory, it does seem worth correcting this. It’s possible you saw some demographic data that separates ‘mizrachi’ from ‘sephardi’, which is a problematic distinction. ‘Sephardi’ may be used as a genealogical distinction, or an ethno-religious one. Both may intersect with ‘mizrachi’, which is geographical, and has an ancient meaning (east of the land of Israel, with Israel itself described as ‘the west’), and a modern one ( and In contemporary usage, ‘mizrachi’ is most likely to be used in a political sense (suggesting an ethnic bloc), but less so biographically.

In any event, people with recent ancestry (on one side or both) in or do make up a majority of Israeli Jews at this point. None of this is to suggest a ‘post ethnic’ or ‘post racial’ reality, but it is important not to assume that familiar paradigms describe every situation. Meaningful understanding and discussion of the Israel Palestine conflict is often hampered by the wholesale import of such paradigms, both by those internal and external to the situation. Let’s strive for accuracy.

Thanks for the link, the comics are cool!


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