MembersWhen Mickey Mouse Came to Israel

The fledgling Jewish state got a boost from the most famous cartoon character in the world, but not with Disney’s permission

By Aviel Schneider |
Mickey Mouse printed in Hebrew, without permission.

In 1928, Walt Disney created what is certainly the most well-known cartoon character in the world. A clever mouse with human characteristics. Nineteen years later, Mickey Mouse also arrived in Israel.

Like so many Jewish immigrants, Mickey Mouse also appeared while Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) was still under the British Mandate, namely in 1947. Without bothering to obtain a license, Israeli author and journalist Yehoshua Tan Pai, who had immigrated from Moldavia in 1934, printed the first edition of his comic booklet in Tel Aviv. The colorful pamphlet was about the size of a regular A4 sheet and was published every two weeks in Hebrew. 

On the title page of the first edition was a short story about Mickey, Goofy and a donkey. And on page 2 the first Mickey Mouse comic begins with the adventure of Omer and Gomer. A boy and a girl in a boat are being pulled along by a turtle in the Alexander River near Netanya. On the way they are reading in the Bible about the prophet Elijah on...

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