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One of my favorite characters has always been the Black Panther. The more I learned and studied my own Jewish culture, the more I connected to the Black Panther, AKA T’Challa. He is one of Marvel’s greatest heroes, a man who doesn’t budge on his ideals, is loyal to his people, and lives in the modern world but respects his history. But what type of environment would produce a hero such as this? Wakanda, the ideal country in a sick world. I immediately connected Wakanda to Israel, not the Israel that exists, but the Israel I wish existed, the Israel we dream of.
This piece is in no way going to try and debate current Israeli policy or politics. It will look at the country at its most idealistic- Israel at its best, the Israel that cannot exist in a real world, but the one we strive for.
Although I have never heard of anyone connecting Wakanda to Israel, I believe it was in the minds of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee when Wakanda was created. Kirby, born 1917, and Lee, born 1922, were the kiddos of Jewish Immigrants. Wakanda first appeared in 1966, prior to the Six-Day War and any peace treaties between Israel and its neighboring countries. Wakanda is an African country that is strong and technologically advanced, with its own natural resources. It is a valued world power, respects its roots and never budges on its values. Wakanda must have been an incredible dream for the two Jewish creators. The spirit of Wakanda is the spirit of Israel.