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Volume 0991

Johnny Weissmuller and Nimrod the  famous Israeli Statue by Izchak Denzinger from 1939


From the '30s to the '70s  the name of Tarzan was  a household name in the the land of Israel  far above competing heroes of the time, such as western heroes Buck Jones and Tom Mix and space hero Flash Gordon or super hero Captain Marvel, all of whom were heroes in their own Hebrew original stories, though none with even the fraction of the number and the longevity of the Tarzan stories of which there are more than a 1000 original Hebrew stories!


One of the chief reasons for the character's success in Palestine was a very widespread conviction that Weissmuller was a Jew, a conviction which can be found to this day in Israeli newspaper articles about Weissmuller which reported his Judaism as a well known "fact."

Actually Weissmuller was not a Jew but a Catholic. In Palestine, however, people longed to think that he was a Jew. This belief became stronger after the Nazis forbade some of his Tarzan movies in Germany. As a result even today people in Israel believe in his Judaism. In the '30s when Zionism searched for a suitable role model of a "new" strong Jew close to nature (the complete opposite of the regular image of the Jews then as bookish "soft" city people) Tarzan, played by a presumedly Jewish Weissmuller, seemed like a perfect choice. His face appeared on zionist  propoganda posters as the face of the ideal Israeli sabra. The famous Israeli writer Amos Oz (himself a fervent Tarzan admirer in his boyhood as revealed in his autobiographical stories for children) wrote: "Our parents were very proud that Johnny Weissmuller the real Tarzan is a Jew" -- and in Palestine only Weissmuller was considered the "real" Tarzan. All the other actors, as well as the obviously British Tarzan in the original books, were consider to be unauthentic ones. For them it was part of the need for a new kind of strong Jew, a revived "Macabi." Oz continued: "Tarzan for us was a Jew since he always fights as 'one against many' and because he was smart and full of tricks and his enemies were stupid."

Various teachers and youth movement guides presented Tarzan specifically as played by Weissmuller as a role model to children, hoping to make them enjoy the hard strenuous life of the outdoors by his example. And in this they succeeded as shown by many reminiscences of people who lived at that period. In a very real way the figure of Tarzan had influenced a whole generation of children in Palestine.

As a result of the extraordinary popularity of the movies and the character, the first eleven Tarzan books where translated into Hebrew in the '30s and the '40s, even though such "low" pulp  adventures stories where ordinarily criticized by Hebrew society of the time and few such stories were being translated. But in the special and only  case of Tarzan there was an exception of special silent agreement to their publication because the Tarzan figure was considered as actually extremly helpful in the creation of a different breed of strong Jews, and because Tarzan was considered "one of us." In one sense the Israeli Sabras felt great identification with Tarzan, particularly in the way he was played by Weissmuller. In fact Weissmuller's characterization of Tarzan as a strong nature lover with very few words had a great influence on many sabras of the time, who behaved just in this way.

The books were immediately very popular. This popularity increased over time and other books by Burroughs in the Pellucidar and the Venus series were translated as well, but they were never as popular as Tarzan for whom the Israelis felt a special bond as an "honorary Jew." Fighting and taming savage natives and evil Arabs in Africa was seen as clearly parallel to their own experiences in "wild" Palestine.

The stories of Tarzan were central as sources of inspiration in children games at the time, and caused Israeli children and adults to be much interested in Africa. In the 'forties and 'fifties interest was intense and wide ranging. In that period Israeli author Igal Mosinzon wrote what would become Israel's most famous and most popular adventure series for children, namely CHASAMNA. These were stories about a group of heroic children, purportedly written to fight Tarzan's "damaging" influence on children, a purpose the author stated many times, even in the books themselves. The characters sometimes said that it was better for the nation if children would read their own adventures rather than those of Tarzan!

But all this was for naught. The translated Tarzan stories continued to be extraordinarily popular. The need for new stories was so great that enterprising Hebrew publishers began to supply them themselves, and these new series were immediately very popular.

The peak of this popularity was 1954 to 1964 with a particularly extreme obsession in 1960-61. At that time there were 10 competing Tarzan series on the stands, all originals and all without the knowledge of the American publisher.


The first original Hebrew stories about Tarzan appeared as far back as 1939 and were purportedly written by a woman writer called "Sulamit Efrony." In reality they were the work of a male writer called David Karsik (who later went on to edit a women's magazine for many years). Those first Tarzan stories were part of a much greater series about the adventures of a brother and sister exploring Africa. In one of the stories, TARAZAN ANOKEM (The Revenge of Tarzan) they meet Tarzan who turns out to be the son of a cinema star who got lost in the Jungle in a previous adventure in the series.Tarzan helps the explorers against arabs and a lost city and he eventually falls in love with a woman called Helen . The story was in essence a copy of the plots of the typical Weissmuller movie but was quite credible as a story. The publisher (Kersik) promised a continuation story about the adventures of Tarzan, Helen and their children, but that story, alas, doesn't seem to exist anymore.

Those first Hebrew stories from 1939 weren't forgotten. One of the very last original Hebrew Tarzan stories from the '60s actually referred to the characters and to the events in them in what was probably an homage by someone who had read them, perhaps, when he was a boy.

The "big bang" in Hebrew Tarzan stories was brought about by various publishers between 1953 and 1964.  One company, Defus M.L.N, took the names of jungle animals such us "Karnaf" (rhinoceros), "Namer" (leopard), and "Bardalas" (panther). This company, along with several others, including "Phil" (elephant), published many hundreds of original Tarzan stories, usually published each week in issues of 32 pages.

The first such stories, which were published by Karnaf, were the longest running. Karnaf was the most prolific of the publishers, with some 500 titles issued under this name, not to mention various other fictitious publisher names in which they published another 165 issues! In all they published seven different Tarzan series under three different names for a total number of 665 issues.

The creator and the editor of the first stories was a person who since had become very well known in the Israeli literary scene. Aharon Amir is today considered one of the best editors and translators Israel has ever known. He was part of a very peculiar and influential literary and artistic movement "the Canaanites."

The Canaanites were a cultural movement of poets, writers and artists who believed that in Israel there should arise an utterly different type of secular Jew, a "Hebrew," who would be in effect a return to the strong pre-monotheistic people of the far past of Israel and who should be as different as possible from the "weak" religious Jews of the diaspora, who should be close to the land and to nature. They also tried to be as far from religion as possible. Their influence is still very much felt today in anti-religious circles in Israel. Their most famous symbol was a statue called "Nimrod" (after the biblical hunter which was a "tarzanic" figure of a naked hunter (even today this is the most famous and controversial statue ever created in Israel, though it was created as far back as 1939).

Perhaps unsurprisingly Tarzan stories were mostly written by people from the Canaanite movement. One of them was Amos Keinan who is today a very well known writer and journalist who among other things has written the most famous science fiction novel in Hebrew, ADERECH LEIN HAROD (The road to Ein Harod). This novel was also made into a movie with Alexandra Musulini. and translated to English. Others included Yesayau Levit, Chaim Gibori and many others. They used the pen name "Yovav" (chosen by Amir as the embodiment of Hebrew nativism). In those stories Tarzan appeared as a person full of vitality who is close to nature and to animals and (most important of all) free of over-intellectualism. This was just like the "Canaanites" who wanted to see the Israeli sabra. Since Tarzan was considered a "True Blue" Israeli the stories weren't even presented as "translated" as was usually the case in such stories, but as the work of a single Israeli writer, Yovav.

Later when Amir left Tarzan to edit Israel's most important literary magazine of the time, "KESHET" (were he discovered many of today's best known Israeli writers such as Amos Oz), this characterization of Tarzan was changed somewhat to a person who has many books in his jungle home and knows among other things -- even Latin! But that was not how he was presented in the first years.


In later years the quality of the Karnaf stories dropped sharply. Many of them were exact plagiarisms of various westerns and detective stories in which the hero's name was simply changed to Tarzan. But in their heyday the stories were enormously successful and there soon appeared various other publishers which competed with Karnaf.

The best of the stories was APIL published by Ezra Narkis. Nearly 200 issues were written by the same anonymous writer, Miron Uriel (who wrote westerns at the same time, in the "Buck Jones" series, and super hero stories about Captain Marvel also for the same publisher). His stories were perhaps the best Israeli Tarzan stories. They were far longer then the usual and typically took at least two or three issues to complete. The stories were full of suspense and many of them were true horror stories in which Tarzan fought such horrific characters as living mummies, Frankenstein monsters, Count Dracula and even a Hannibal Lekter-like mad murderer. Apil also created a new form of Tarzan stories, the serial, or one long story which continued on from issue to issue -- for 30 issues in one case -- as well as special series about the adventures of Tarzan's son Boy.

There were other publishers as well, such as RAMDOR which published a series of 32 issues. While Ramdor didn't have the best of the stories, most issues certainly had the best covers, some of them by reprints of covers by Manning and Marsh and some of them original by Dickshtein (many examples are reproduced in my book). Most of the other Publishers, alas, didn't have such good covers, preferring to use stock photos of Weissmuller and Co.

In all, more than a 1000 issues in some 18 series were published by the various competing publishers. Their success was so great that a lawsuit resulted between the various unauthorized publishers, with Karnaf trying to forbid her great rival Apil to publish stories about Tarzan because Karnaf had done it first! The Israeli court, however, didn't see it that way and permitted Apil to continue to publish their stories at will. The original American publishers, needless to say, didn't see a penny from all of this. They didn't seem to know about all those stories, otherwise they would have been suing all concerned, as they had done with similar cases in England and India.

At this time the period of the late 1950s and early '60s and most particular the years 1960-62, Tarzan became almost a national obsession in Israel, with many jokes, famous songs, and caricatures about him. There were events organized by the publisher of Karnaf and the fans in which they had gone to the forests to live like Tarzan -- somwhat in the manner of role-playing games of today. There was even a series of books about the adventures of Tarzan fans! That series, which was published by Karnaf, was written as a counter blow to the successful Chasamba series from Mosinson which was attacking Tarzan stories and their readers. In these stories from Karnaf it was explained how those children who read Tarzan are better and have greater adventures than those children who didn't read Tarzan stories or read only Chasamba
There were also several original comics stories about Tarzan by Dany Planet who retold Tarzan's origin in comics format and wrote an original story in which Tarzan fights Arab slavers. There were also stories by Asher Dickshtein, Israel's best comics artist of the '60s who painted many Tarzan covers and illustrations for various publishers. Dickshtein also drew the definitive Tarzan comics story in Hebrew, TARZAN BEMARTEF AEIMIM (Tarzan and the Horror World), in which Tarzan discovered a lost Viking city in Africa and descended to a horrific underground world. This story alas remained uncompleted as a result of the suspension of the magazine in which it had appeared at 1965. So readers were left in suspense not knowing if Tarzan survived his perilous journey. Examples from these comics appear in my book. Undoubtedly Dickshtein was the best, as well most prolific, Tarzan artist in Israel (examples of his cover art appear as the color back cover of my book).

There were also Israeli "regular" hardback children's books about Tarzan written by well known writers. In one such story, ABALASHIM AZHIRIN VETARZAN PORZIM LEMIFRAZ SHELOMO (The young detectives and Tarzan Attack Solomon Gulf), by well-known and extremely prolific children's writer "Avner Carmeli, ( pen name of Shraga Gafni another member of the Chanaanit movement  who also created the long running series of Israel's most famous children hero, DANI DIN THE INVESIBLE BOY, running from 1961 till today). In this series Tarzan helps a group of heroic Israeli children, "the young detectives," fight Saudi slavers, Arab spies and evil Egyptians who are doing a movie on Tarzan's life as a cover to their evil activities. In the end Tarzan comes to visit Israel with his bride.

Another book, TARZAN VETALUMAT AATOM (Tarzan and the Atom Mystery), was written by Yariv Amazya,  pen name for one of Israel's most famous writers and poet Pinchas Sade. This book appeared originally in the 1960 issues of the children magazine AARETZ SHELANU. In that magazine there appeared at the same time, and in the same issues the Planet comics, stories about Tarzan. This shows how incredibly popular Tarzan was. In Amazya's story Tarzan stopped a plot to conquer the world.

Tarzan spent so much time in Israel because there was a great interest in the continent of Africa. Israel was trying to forge relationships with recently emerging nations by forming diplomatic contacts, and sending teachers and doctors, as well as by other means. In some ways the original eleven Tarzan stories and his character symbolized this interest in Africa, even though I have to admit the Africa in the stories was mostly colonial and ruled by the British. However, later stories presented Tarzan as helping the black freedom fighters in places like Biafra, a nation which Israel had actually helped. In many ways Israelies identified themselves with Tarzan: the civilized man who brings culture and freedom to the savages and along the way stops various schemes of evil Nazis and Arabs.


The subjects of the actual Tarzan stories were many and varied. At first they were actual adaptations of the DELL comics stories about Tarzan (the eagle Argos from those stories was always very prominent in the Hebrew stories) but very soon they had become entirely original. The stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs didn't served as inspiration except in one or two cases, even though his original stories were known in Hebrew.

The only character remaining from Burroughs' books was Jane who was a minor character whose only function was to serve as "mother figure." On the other hand, characters from the movies -- Chita the ape and particularly Boy -- were very prominent in the Hebrew stories, and Boy has the distinction of having had two different series about his own adventures published by Apil. However, the character of Tarzan, as presented in Hebrew stories, was dissimilar even from Weissmuller and more closely resembled Gordon Scott's Tarzan, a somewhat cultured man who performed various tasks for British Government in Africa.

Interestingly the subject of at least one-fourth of the Tarzan stories was science fictional. Tarzan fought many, many invasions from space and even received a knighthood from the British queen for stopping one such invasion. He went several times to other planets and sometimes found that the peoples there were already familiar with him since they were readers of his sundry adventures                                                        .

He also time-travelled both to the far past and the future . He went to the time of the dinosaurs, to the time of the cave men where he found that they all spoken the language of the great apes of his time, and to the time of Caesar. He went to the future both near and far. He was kidnapped to the depopulated near future of 2089 in a story by Uriel which is startlingly similar in plot to the later book and movie MILLENNIUM by John Varley. And he went to the far future of 3958 where he found a world populated by wandering, dangerous mutants which included a mechanical city. These predated, by many years, the books of Philip Jose Farmer about a similarly time travelling Tarzan.

In those stories Tarzan was presented as a sort of super agent akin to Fox Moulder, the world's number one expert on monsters and aliens. It was Tarzan upon whom the government always called when the world faced an inexplicable danger, such as an indestructible mummy, gigantic ants, murderous Godzilla, living skeleton, or an army of Draculas. All those and much more where presented as daily routine for Tarzan. These were perhaps the first true original sf stories written in Israel. Tarzan became, in Israel, a sort of fantastic character caught up in all kind of various science fiction situations which bare no relationship to the original character. This shows the interest in science fiction subjects in Israel in those times. Because sf as a genre was frowned upon as too frivolous, the Tarzan stories were almost the only outlet for that kind of imaginative entertainment.

In the stories from the Aphil publisher there was a a regular formula: there appears some terrible and monstrously destructive menace (a living mummy who is destroying new cities for enjoyment, a living indestructible skeleton, invading army of  aliens, etc.) which is impervious to any modern weapons (including sometimes nuclear weapons). The story then presented in the most graphic details the destruction and the government's inability to stop it. Until as a last resort the authorities call to humanity's ultimate weapon -- Tarzan. The apeman goes with his knife to confront the menace and usually stops it at the last minute with the help of the jungle beasts or with some arcane knowledge -- such as particularly destructive jungle flowers -- and by very clever trick, proving again and again that the human mind and will are always be superior to technology.

Some of the Israeli Tarzan stories described his meetings with other well-known characters such as Dracula and Doctor Fu Manchu. And Doctor Jeckyl and Mister Hyde. Particular favorites were spaceman Flash Gordon, who had many adventures with Tarzan and boy both on space and on earth where, in a special three-issue adventure, the two stopped an invasion of robots from mars which actually destroyed most of the cities of the world. In the series with Boy, he and Flash had helped destroy an alien armada which threatened Earth after it had already destroyed Venus!  Another favorite was super-hero Captain Marvel, who had his own regular (non comics) series, besides his many adventures with Tarzan and Boy in both their series. Tarzan even met characters which originally were imitations of him, such as the lion boy Kaspa, the jungle girl Sheena, and the Indian jungle man Zimbo, who had originally appeared in a series of Indian jungle movies of the period. These stories preceded a similar trend in today with the Tarzan and Sherlock Holms stories                                    .

Tarzan was presented in the stories as being politically aware. Time after time he is presented as helping British imperialism against the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya and French imperialism against Algeria and Vietnam. On the other hand he helped black freedom fighters against Spanish and Portuguese imperialism. He also dealt with the changing situation in Africa and with new black governments and particularly those in Congo and Kenya (Jomo Kenyata, a Kenya leader, was presented as Tarzan's personal friend) and he helped the Tibetan delhi lama against the Chinese. He personally destroyed the despotic government of Truchilo at the Dominican Republic.


There were some Tarzan stories in which he was presented as helping the Israeli government. At one point he helped the Jewish illegal immigration to Palestine at the time of the British mandate, and for which he was thrown into  prison by his fellow British. On another occasion he singlehandedly broke the Egyptian blockade against Israel at Suez, killing many Egyptian soldiers on the way and on another time he destroyed the fiendish Soviet machine with which Egyptian leader Naser threatened to destroy Israel. He helped Mosad agents catch a Nazi criminal in Moscow. In the story "Tarzan and the Ten Tribes" he discovered evidence of the existence of a Hebrew empire in Africa which had existed since the time of Solomon and was destroyed by the Romans.

At other times he stopped various Nazi-aided Egyptian schemes to conquer Africa and the world. In the Carmeli book he even stopped an Egyptian plot to make a film about him in which he was to be presented as pro Arabic! In that story he had come to visit Israel and decided that the place so suited him he would make it his home. In fact the routine of Tarzan living in provincial Israel and having to struggle with the hazards of red tape is a favorite subject among Israeli humor writers and comedians.


At the same time that stories appeared in which Tarzan was killing Egyptian agents, Saudi slavers and Arabs in general, at every possible place in Africa, there were similar unauthorized series in the Arabic lands of Syria and   Lebanon and in which Tarzan's foes were Jewish.

In Arabic lands Tarzan was as popular as he was in Israel. The first original Tarzan stories appeared as illustrated serials in Lebanon back at the '30s, just at the same time that the Efroni stories appeared at Palestine. Similar stories later appeared in Beirut in at least two more Tarzan series. One of these was a series of comics stories from which there appeared at least 13 issues, with at least 16 issues of a second of set of stories (two stories in each issue) written by Faris Daher, a professor in  the academy of sciences in Beirut.

At Damascus there appeared another series with at least 20 issues. The writer is particularly interesting. His name was Rabki Camal and he was known to Israeli radio listeners in the '60s as the Syrian announcer on the Voice of Damascus, which was in Hebrew. He was well known for his savage propaganda against Israel. In his youth Camal learned Hebrew in Jerusalem, and it was there he met (before the creation of Israel) the people of the Canaanite Movement in whose ideas he was interested for a time and even attended some of their meetings. He had met several of the people, such Yesayau Levit, who would later write Tarzan stories for Karnaf. By some strange coincidence, when Camal became the voice of Damascus and expert for Israel affairs because of his knowledge of Hebrew, Levit served as as the Israeli army and radio expert for Arabic affairs because of his expertise in Arabic. And both of then wrote Tarzan stories to supplement their incomes.

It is likely that Camal, the expert for Israeli affairs, knew very well the Israeli Tarzan and perhaps read some of them. It is possible that he wrote his Tarzan stories as counter propaganda to the Israeli stories in which Tarzan helps Zionism. In those stories Tarzan was presented as helping the Palestinians and fighting the evil Jews and their attempt to achieve world domination. Needless to say this also was all without the knowledge of Burroughs estate.

Those stories were very successful and were bought all over the Arab world from Egypt to Yemen, giving the Arab readers the good patriotic feeling that Tarzan is on their side against Israel.

All that sucsess didn't helped Camal though, who was accused in one of the Syrian political upheavals as being "pro Israeli" and was put to death.


The great popularity of Tarzan in Israel demanded in the minds of some that there should be a suitably religious Zionist answer to this hero, who was after all (as muchas the Israelies preferred to forget it), a British gentile. Such an answer appeared at 1960-61 in a series of issues called  "Dan-Tarzan, the Israeli Tarzan." That series was written by Amnon Shepak and later by religious journalist, Zeev Galili, who had belonged to the circles of the "right" in Israel. Galili had read the Karnaf issues of Tarzan and he remembers today that he was angered by the "leftist-canaanite" nature of the stories. He decided in response to write his own Tarzan in whose stories there were to be a proper rightist nationalist message.

Dan-Tarzan was an Israeli boy who crash landed in the African jungle where he was reared by the granddaughter of Kala the she-ape who had previously raised Tarzan. He understood her language thanks to his previously reading of the Tarzan books! Dan-Tarzan became a new Tarzan, who according to these stories "died many years ago," and eventually came to Israel where he worked as a mossad agent. He even caught Adolf Eichman and brought him to Israel! -- a story which caused many comments in the Israeli newspapers of the time. In a sequel, he had to catch Eichman again, after the Nazi criminal escaped his prison to Egypt. Other stories in that series were just as fantastic as in the actual Hebrew Tarzan series, depicting voyages to another planet, his war on space invaders, his finding of a lost city of ancient Hebrew warriors at the Dead Sea, saving the world from a monstrous underground civilization, and fighting a superman who could control people like puppets.

In August 1999, after he read in a newspaper article about my research about the Israeli Tarzan, Galili wrote sadly that it seemed to him that the war for the minds of the Israeli youth was won by the Canaanite secular Tarzan of Amir and Keinan over his own "patriotic" Dan Tarzan. "If Dan Tarzan would have lived today," he wrote, "he would have been thrown out of the Mosad. People would have said of him that he is out of touch with the times, that he still believes in that old fashioned Zionist ideology and that he can't understand that a Palestinian state must be built."

Recently, in 2001, the last book to-date in the famous Danidin series, danidin bajungle ??NIDIN IN THE JUNGLE, by Shraga Gafni dealt with an invincible boy going to Africa and meeting a Israeli Tarzan fan who lives there like Tarzan under the name SHYRAN. He fights the lion Numa, showing that not much had changed in this story since the time of DAN TARZAN.


In  the '70s the popularity of Tarzan in Israel declined. New issues continued to appear but they were translations of American comics by Manning, Celardo and Lubbers, along with the Burroughs books. There were no more new Israeli stories though there was at that time an enterprising publisher issuing a new series which largely made up of reprints of American Tarzan comics, along with reprints of old Karnaf stories without Karnaf's permission. Eventually this was stopped by court decision. But what the court didn't seem to know was that most of those particular Karnaf stories which were being reprinted were from the last and worst volumes of Karnaf and they were already a plagiarisms of various detective and western stories! One should have thought that he who is stealing from a thief should get off free, but obviously the court didn't think that way. Then in the 1980s even the comic book stories about Tarzan ceased to appear.

There was a nostalgic effort to reprint the old Karnaf stories in 1988 but the attempt this time was authorized and the choices for reprinting were the earlier, better stories by Keinan. Despite much publicity the series failed and no more then 10 issues appeared. The stories didn't interest the new generation.

But the character of Tarzan was not forgotten. When Weissmuller's health declined in the '80s there was a new interest in him in Israel. The newspapers wrote of him nostalgically as a symbol to a period which was over -- not just in Holywood, but  in Israel as well. Probably no other American actor's decline won as much interest in Israel as that of Weissmuller.

After he died, there appeared several literary works, stories and even poems which were based on the theme of the "fall" of the once great Tarzan/Weissmuller. This was actually a quite clear message about the corresponding fall of the once dominant Israeli "sabra" culture of which Weissmuller was one of the ultimate symbols. The best of these works, which were also tributes to the old Israeli Tarzan stories, was that of Yaacove Shavit, a very famous Historian in Israel, well-known for his history of the Canaanite movement, These stories were also translated to English.

SIPUR MASA LEAVI ET JOHNNY WEISSMULLER LEAFRICA ("To Bring Johnny   Weissmuller to Africa") (1992) is the story of three older Israelis and former fans of the Israeli Tarzan stories. They are on a special mission to kidnap the old Weissmuller from a degrading old people home and to take him to die in his true home, Africa. The mission is successful and the story ends with Weissmuller dying as he should, as king of the jungle in Africa and not as a senile invalid.

The interest in Tarzan and the ability of the character to provoke continues to this day. When the Disney movie was shown in Israel in September 1999 and the country was full of Tarzan posters, there was a scandal when ultra-religious groups demanded the removal of these posters because of Tarzan's nakedness! Those circles explained that they objected to the character of Tarzan in general as he represents the belief of man's own physical power. Also it must be keep in mind that the leadearship of the anti-religious circles in Israel usually comes from the circles of the former Canaanits movment, which as we have seen were particularly associated with the figure of Tarzan. Yet it must be said that in the Hebrew Tarzan's heyday there were many religious people who had read those issues. Once there was even a scandal at a religious Yeshiva when the head of the institution had forbade the pupils to read Tarzan stories. The modern scandal over Disney posters incited secular circles with several pictures of Tarzan in modern clothes including one in which he wears the ultra religious people's costume!

Obviously Tarzan continues to be a very potent symbol in Israel.

My book TARZAN BEERETZ HAKODESH (TARZAN IN THE HOLY LAND) is a  guide  to the whole Tarzan phenomenon in Israel. It is written in the Hebrew language and gives a detailed  listing of all the Tarzan stories which appeared from the various publishers. It also includes examples of cover art, particularly by the premier Israeli Tarzan artist Asher Dickstein, Israel's most important Tarzan artist. I have also listed examples of appearances of Tarzan in various Israeli media such as caricatures, games and advertisements. Today most of these magazine and comic book issues are very rare in Israel and are highly valued by collectors. TARZAN IN THE HOLY LAND exists only in a very limited nunber of copies and is published only on demand. The copies in each reprinting are expanded from the earlier ones with new information on the seemingly never-ending Hebrew Tarzan stories.

This article appears greatly expanded in my history of Israeli pulp literature: METARZAN VEAD ZBENG (FROM TARZAN TO ZBENG) a book which was published only five months ago, but  already has become a bestseller in Israel. This book also garnered me the title of WRITER OF THE YEAR from the leading Israeli newspaper, MAARIV.

The book had got a great deal of discussion from leading critics and one of the most discussed subjects is Tarzan and his great relevance to young Israeli culture.

I wish to thank Jessica Amanda Salmonson. Without her advice and encouragement my book would not have achieved this degree of success. This work was a pleasure, as time after time I discovered further influences on Israeli culture in various surprising ways. And I discovered how large the "industry" around the Ape-man in Israel really was and that the figure of Tarzan touched something very deep in the Israeli psyche.


Note: Place your cursor arrow on each cover for pop-up captions


There were 20 issues in this series that ran from 1972-1975. The first two or three were unnumbered.

A cover of the first unnumbered edition of the Tarzan series (part stories - part comics).
This same cover also appeared as the cover of the numbered series as number 4 in the series.

(pen name PHINCHAS SADE)

A story originally published in the 1960 children's magazine, AAHRETZ SHELANU. There were also original Tarzan comics by Dani Plant in the same issues. This is the story of Tarzan's battle with uranium thieves behind whom stands a millionaire who plans to rule and enslave humanity. Sade is one of the most famous of the Israeli writers and poets and was something of an intellectual "guru" to many young Israelies.

A Tarzan picture album which was published in Israel in the '70s.

Aphil edition ~ Miron Uriel writer: circa 1961 TARZAN NEGED FRANKENSTEIN (TARZAN VS. FRANKENSTEIN ) First part of a multi-issue story of war with the artifical man ~ (debut of word android in Hebrew)HAPIL Edition circa 1962 by Miron Uriel: n69 ~ TARZAN POGESH ET FLASH GORDON ( TARZAN MEETS FLASH GORDON)  Pt. 1: fighting on the moon with invaders from Jupiter.HAPIL Edition circa 1962 by Miron Uriel: n75 TARZAN VEFLASH GORDON NEGED AROBOTIM (TARZAN AND FLASH GORDON VS THE ROBOTS)
n76 TARZAN VEMILCHEMET AROBOTIM (TARZAN  AND THE WAR OF THE ROBOTS) Two issues of  many of a against army of robots from mars which destroys most of the big cities of the world.APHIL circa 1962: n80 ~ Tarzan beikvot haozar hagadol (Tarzan on the trail of the big treasure) ~ 2 part story by Miron Uriel in which Tarzan meets Captain Marvel for the first timeAPHIL circa 1962: n79 TALULEY series ~ 2 part story by Miron Uriel in which Tarzan meets Captain Marvel for the first time
For more Israeli Tarzan covers see our
ERB Illustrated Pulp Bibliography
Visit Eli's other ERBzine features:
Tarzan in the Holy Land I
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Tarzan in the Holy Land II
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Tarzan in the Holy Land III
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Tarzan in the Holy Land IV
ERBzine 0874
Tarzan in the Holy Land V
ERBzine 0854
Tarzan in the Holy Land VI
ERBzine 0855

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