Yaakov Farkash (Hebrew: יעקב פרקש; born 1923, died 15 October 2002), better known by the name Ze’ev (Hebrew: זאב), was an Israeli caricaturist and illustrator.
Farkash was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1923. At an early age Farkash became interested in painting and at the age of 12 drew caricatures which he published in a newspaper he distributed in his neighborhood. At first he did not foresee himself drawing professionally, in part because he was color blind. In addition, his high school art teacher was not particularly impressed with his ability, calling him “the worst painter in class.” Nevertheless, Farkash continued to draw.
After the war Farkash tried to immigrate to Palestine illegally, but was caught by the British forces in Palestine and sent to prison in Cyprus. Throughout this period Farkash continued drawing caricatures in his private diary. He finally managed to immigrate to Israel in 1947.
During his first years in Israel Farkash tried selling his drawings, and eventually managed to sell his first caricature to the Israeli newspaper Omer. He then turned to Ephraim Kishon, also born in Hungary, who at the time worked for the Israeli Hebrew-language daily tabloid Ma’ariv. Farkash was hired as a caricaturist by Ma’ariv in 1952, where he used to draw a daily caricature, a new thing in the Israeli press at the time. The newspapers’ editors eventually decided that the experiment was not successful, and after a few months Farkash was transferred to work as an illustrator. During this period Farkash began signing his drawings under the pen name “Ze’ev”.
During the late fifties and early sixties Farkash worked as a caricaturist for the Israeli magazine Davar HaShavua where he used to draw daily caricatures.
In 1962 the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz hired him to draw daily caricatures. A year later, he was given his own permanent section in the Friday edition of the newspaper. Later on Farkash’s caricatures were also published in foreign newspapers, including the New York Times and Le Monde, the American magazines Time and Newsweek, and the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Beyond his work as a caricaturist, Farkash also worked as an illustrator, and illustrated through his career dozens of books published in Israel.
Farkash had a great impact on Israeli caricaturists and is widely considered to be one of the greatest political cartoonists in Israel. Through the years Farkash supported and encouraged many young Israeli artists who attempted to enter this field, particularly children and teenagers. Among those whom he encouraged is the successful Israeli cartoonist and caricaturist Michel Kichka.
Farkash died on 15 October 2002.