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Israel's first museum of comics and cartoons will open in Holon next month, one of only 12 such museums in the world. The new institution's historical archive, which will be open to researchers, is now being established.

The veteran cartoonist and caricaturist Shmuel Katz will be the first recipient of the museum's Golden Pencil Award, which will be given annually to encourage young artists and students. The museum will also hold a caricature biennial named after Israel's first woman caricaturist, Friedel Stern, who died last year at nearly 90 years old.

The museum will open on December 20 under chief curator Galit Gaon. Its 430 square meters will host three permanent exhibitions: one on the work of six pioneers of Israeli caricature, another on the development of caricature, comics and animation since the days of the pharaohs, and the third on contemporary comics.

The temporary exhibits in the museum's first year will include a retrospective on the year through the eyes of caricaturists. Another will be for Women's Day, showing how Golda Meir was portrayed by Israeli caricaturists.

There will also be an exhibit by artists who belong to the Israel Association of Illustrators, among them Merav Cohen, Elite Avni, Daniella London, Rutu Modan, Mira Friedman and Batia Kolton. This exhibit will show the personal as opposed to the professional as expressed in their works.

Other exhibits include the image of the Israeli in caricature from the establishment of the state to the present, and a survey on collaboration between Israeli and Polish comics illustrators.

On opening day, the museum will host a conference on the transition of illustrated media to museum space. Journalist and former MK Yosef Lapid will speak on the place of caricature in the Israeli press. Also speaking will be Turkish cartoonist Izel Rozental and the chairman of the Israel Association of Illustrators, Motti Michel Kichka.

The museum is the brainchild of Holon Mayor Motti Sasson, municipality director general Hannah Hertzman, the Holon Theater and the Israel Association of Illustrators.