Election Campaign Just Got a Lot Darker: Israeli Designer Draws Candidates in the Underworld

Designer Jan Clayman drew the heroes of the Israeli election campaign as eyeless zombies: 'Most of them don't see us, we're nothing to them,' he explains

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Naama Riba
Naama Riba

The election campaign seems uglier and darker than ever. Israeli graphic designer Jan Clayman, 42, translated this sentiment into a series of morbid zombie-like illustrations of the heads of the parties running for the Knesset.

Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz
Yair Lapid and Benny GantzCredit: Jan Clayman

He drew Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their son Yair as a three-headed monster. Education Minister and Hayamin Hehadash co-chair Naftali Bennett is portrayed as a fighter, Kahol Lavan co-leaderYair Lapid as a boxer and former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a bully.

>> Read more: Why Netanyahu’s paranoid Hail Mary might turn out to be political Hara-kiri | Chemi Shalev ■ Non-Jews are about to lose the right to vote in Israel | Opinion

"The main idea was inspired by the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones television series," Clayman explains. "I want to use elements that people already know. I also hooked on to something a friend said – that our future is dark and promising."

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor LiebermanCredit: Jan Clayman

You seem to be mocking all politicians equally.

"I think politicians have an important role and are meant to serve the people, to first and foremost promote people's interests. Unfortunately that's not always the case. Most politicians don't see us, we’re nothing to them. That's why the figures don't have eyes. I started this project to mock all candidates; I had no intention to promote my own political opinions or to present anything specific in a positive light," Clayman says.

"So it's true, not everyone came out equally scary, mostly because I couldn’t find a special way to show their dark side. So in this project Meretz head Tamar Zandberg is treated the same as Yisrael Beiteinu chair Avigdor Lieberman, not because of a political preference but because of the project's direction. Of course I gave the prime minister special attention," Clayman continues.

United Torah Judaism head Yaakov Litzman
United Torah Judaism head Yaakov LitzmanCredit: Jan Clayman

How did you choose to define the characters?

"I attributed the characters personal traits that I see in them and added elements that reference the way they are perceived in Israeli society. I drew [Labor head] Avi Gabbay, for example, as a Lenin figure waving the socialism flag. I couldn't find any attribute in [Benny] Gantz other than that of a fighter. Zandberg is a strong politician whose voice is heard like that of the Irish mythological female spirit Banshee who heralds death and doom," Clayman says.

Shas leader Arye Dery
Shas leader Arye DeryCredit: Jan Clayman
Hadash party chair Ayman Odeh
Hadash party chair Ayman OdehCredit: Jan Clayman
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg
Meretz leader Tamar ZandbergCredit: Jan Clayman
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet ShakedCredit: Jan Clayman
A drawing of Zehut leader Moshe Feiglin
A drawing of Zehut leader Moshe FeiglinCredit: Jan Clayman
Avi Gabbay
Avi GabbayCredit: Jan Clayman

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