The Zehu Ze! comedy/music group, whose name is synonymous with irreverent, amusing entertainment, will be receiving a very serious award – an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University – according to an announcement released on Sunday.
The members of Zehu Ze! – Dov Glickman, Shlomo Bar-Aba, Gidi Gov, Moni Moshonov and Avi Kushnir – began performing together in a program on the government broadcasting channel in 1978 and continued until 1998, then came back together for a show on KAN 11 during the pandemic.
Satire and silly sketches
Viewers young and old embraced the mix of satirical and silly sketch comedy and classic Israeli songs when they returned to the airwaves.
In the announcement, Prof. Arie Zaban, president of Bar-Ilan University, wrote that the group had earned the doctorate, “For your joint contribution to Israeli culture in the 75th year of the State of Israel. The degree committee would like to thank you for the humor and poetry that managed to make us happy and draw us all around the tribal campfire. The Israel of 1978 is completely different from the Israel of 2023. The record album became Spotify, Channel 1 became a media platform with a world name, and Zehu Ze! is no less relevant. Zehu Ze! – is still going strong.”
He continued: “Your way of making people laugh is with wit and grace. In the days of the Gulf War, and at this time, in the years of the corona epidemic, [your talents] are worthy of all praise in our eyes. It is worth amplifying the ripples of your influence that are not to be taken for granted.
“It goes without saying that you manage to create, twice a week (yes, also at 1:30 p.m., on the rebroadcast) a connection among all the facets of Israeli society, and this is what we seek to [reward] by awarding the honorable title.”
The members of the group thanked Zaban and the university in a special video recorded ahead of the ceremony. Explaining the renewed interest in the show and its starts, Gov said, “We flourish in times of crisis.” Bar-Aba said, “It is very natural for us to laugh in times of war. In times of peace, we will still have to prove ourselves.”
When they are not in the series, the Zehu Ze! members have had stellar acting, comedy and music careers, and often excelled in serious roles.
Bar-Aba won the Ophir Award for Best Actor for playing a Talmud professor in the movie Footnote; Moshonov won an Ophir for playing a protective Georgian father in Late Marriage; Glickman was a hit with audiences all over the world when the series Shtisel, in which he played a disapproving father, was picked up by Netflix; and Kushnir got a Best Actor Ophir nomination for the movie Metallic Blues. Gov continues to perform as a singer.