HaGashash HaChiver: The most influential comedy act in the history of Israel (1963-2000)

By Gideon

HaGashash HaChiver (The Pale Tracker – the name was taken from the book the Last Mohican ) were an Israeli comedy group. Often called HaGashashim (The Trackers), they are considered a classic of Israeli entertainment and the most influential comedy act in the history of Israel. The three members of the Gashash were: Yeshayahu Levi (“Shaike”), Yisrael Poliakov (“Poli”), and Gavriel Banai (“Gavri”). The group was created in 1963 by the producer  Avraham Deshe (“Pachanel”) The show was based on the format of the Israeli military singing bands of the 1950s and 1960s, which was a combination of songs and skits.

Initially,  HaGashashim were supposed to perform in late night clubs. However, the success of of the show moved the performance  to larger theaters. They performed for 37 years,  putting on many stage comedy shows, consisting of skits which became classics and contributed numerous quotes to modern spoken Hebrew. They also starred in comic Israeli movies which became major hits and recorded many famous Hebrew songs. The Gashash’ sketches transcended class and education. Their elaborate word play became known as Gashashit.

In 2000, HaGashashim were awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement & special contribution to society and the State of Israel. The judges who awarded the prize, wrote of their decision: “The uniqueness of Hagashash HaChiver is in its two faces: On the one hand, it reflects the life and the culture that were created in Israel during its first 50 years and in the course of wars, immigration absorption and the struggle for its existence. On the other hand, it has taken an active role in shaping this culture, creating its language and sketching its identity.[Wikipedia]

The telephone (live in France, 1967 (French and Hebrew)


Selected Skits and songs (in Hebrew)

Tribute to the Gashashim (in Hebrew)







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.