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Pokémon in Israel

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Pokémon in Israel
Pokemon logo Hebrew.png
Israel Flag.png
Flag of Israel
Language Hebrew
Continent Asia

The Pokémon franchise first reached Israel in late 1999, with the first broadcast of Pokémon - I Choose You! in Hebrew on the Israeli Children Channel.

The word Pokémon is written as פוקימון in the Hebrew alphabet. Unlike the English version, in Hebrew a plural form, פוקימונים (Pokémonim) is often used, and a female form, פוקימונית (Pokémonit) has also been heard in the anime. Due to the differences in grammar between the languages, Pokémon are always referred to as either male or female.

While all characters, Pokémon, and locations have kept their English names in the Hebrew version, some objects in the franchise received Hebrew-alike names:

  • The Poké Ball, for example, has been dubbed as פוקדור (Pokadur, a mix of the words פוקימון (Pokémon) and כדור (kadur, a ball).
  • The Pokédex received the name פוקידע (Pok-éda, פוקימון (Pokémon) and ידע (éda, knowledge))

Pokémon anime

The Children Channel's logo
The Pokémon anime is dubbed in Israel by N.L.S Studios (אולפני נ.ל.ס Ulpanei N.L.S), and, for the first ten seasons of the series, it has been broadcasted on the Children Channel (ערוץ הילדים Arutz Hayeladim). Starting the eleventh season, the anime is broadcasted on Jetix Israel since May 4, 2009. On September 9, 2009, Jetix was changed into Disney Channel Israel and continued to broadcast the eleventh season along with the 12th season.

The first episode of the anime first aired on Israeli television in late 1999. Pokémon: The First Movie debuted on Israeli cinemas in May 2000, scoring the biggest movie opening ever in the country.

The last movie to be dubbed to Hebrew and played in Theaters was Pokémon 4Ever. The movies Jirachi: Wish Maker and Destiny Deoxys were broadcasted in other channels such as the Yes satellite channel Yes 5. Lastly, in late 2010, Arceus and the Jewel of Life was broadcast on Disney Channel Israel with Hebrew dub.

Cast and crew

During the first ten seasons of the anime, the series dub was directed by Yafa Gabay (יפה גבאי; born 1960), a longtime voice actress herself, who also voiced several minor characters in Pokémon. After ten years, Sharon Borgauker (שרון בורגאוקר; born June 10 1972) briefly became the director of the dub. Borgauker also dubbed several minor characters, including Conway.

The first five theme songs were performed by singer Uzi Fox (עוזי פוקס; born February 6, 1947), the owner of N.L.S Studios and producer of the Hebrew dub. Fox also voiced minor characters on Pokémon, including Professor Birch.

Yehoyachin Friedlander

The main role of Ash Ketchum was given to Yonatan Magon (יונתן מגון; born April 10, 1986). Yonatan voiced Ash for three seasons before passing the job to his younger brother, Daniel Magon (דניאל מגון; born March 15, 1988). Other characters Yonatan Magon dubbed in Pokémon include Harley and Kudo. Pokémon is not the only series the Magon brothers shared roles in - they both voiced Cody Hida (among other roles) in Digimon.

Yehoyachin "Chini" Friedlander (יהויכין "כיני" פרידלנדר; born June 18, 1956), a well known voice actor and theater actor, was hired as the voice of Professor Oak. Friedlander, who grew up in Kiryat Motzkin in northern Israel, is a graduate of the Nisan Nativ Acting Studio. He lives in Ramat Gan with his wife and two children.

Daniel Zilbershtein

Ash's first rival, Gary Oak, has been voiced by several voice actors over the years, including Avihud Tidhar (אביהוד תדהר), Doron Ben-Ami (דורון בן-עמי), who also dubbed Butch, and Amit Yosovich (עמית יוסוביץ; born October 12, 1993). The most famous one is Daniel Zilbershtein (דניאל זילברשטיין; born October 8, 1986), a pop-star from Ra'anana. Zilbershtein also made musical appearances on Pokémon, such as a version of You & Me & Pokémon in Shocks and Bonds.

Talya Barkai

Misty is another character that has been dubbed by several voice actors, such as Adi Ben Israel (עדי בן ישראל; born November 2, 1986) and Na'ama Ozen (נעמה אוזן). For a short time, the role was also dubbed by Talya Barkai (טליה ברקאי; born August 18, 1981 as Talya Peleg). Barkai's more major role in the anime, however, was that of another main character, Dawn. She also voiced Duplica, Casey, Tiffany, the Sinnoh Pokédex, and for a few episodes only, Delia Ketchum. In addition, she sang the song mentioned above with Daniel Zilbershtein as well as We Will Be Heroes and the flashback song from Gotta Catch Ya Later!, and, in 2009, became the director of the series dub, taking over the job from Sharon Borgauker.

Guy Roshiniak

The third main character, Brock, was originally dubbed by Alon Goren (אלון גורן). In the fourth season, Guy Roshiniak (גיא רושיניאק) took over the role.

Maya Bar Shalom (מאיה בר שלום) gave her voice to Jessie, as well as Jessiebelle, Dora, Lola (SS001 only), Masae, Jimmy's Pokédex and the Hoenn Pokédex. As Jessie, she also had a few musical appearances, such as Double Trouble and Team Rocket Forever. Bar Shalom was also the director of the Hebrew dub of Pokémon Chronicles (פוקימון דברי הימים Pokémon divrei hayamim). Many fans praised her for keeping Jackson and Eusine's original names in The Legend of Thunder! special, correcting the mistake of the English dub. The only voice actress to voice Jessie other than Bar Shalom was Anat Niv (ענת ניב), who took over the role for 22 episodes during the fifth season.

James's first and longest running voice actor was Guy Nativ (גיא נתיב), who dubbed James for the first 6 seasons. Starting the seventh season, Liron Lev (לירון לב; born December 5, 1982), who also dubbed Jimmy and sang the Hebrew versions of I Wanna Be a Hero, This Dream, Battle Frontier, and Diamond and Pearl, took over the role. Lev left the cast for the duration of season 8, though, during which James was dubbed by Gil Chernovich (גיל צרנוביץ; born April 6, 1969) and the theme song, Unbeatable, was performed by Yoav Koren (יואב קורן). Liron Lev then returned in season 9.

Of all main characters, Meowth had the most voice actors throughout the series. Those include Yossi Tzabari (יוסי צברי), Yaron Malachi (ירון מלאכי; born January 29, 1982), Yoav Ne'eman (יואב נאמן), and Dor Srogo (דור סרוגו; born April 16, 1989), who also dubbed Tracey Sketchit. The most famous one is Ido Mosseri (עידו מוסרי; born April 17, 1978), the younger brother of Children Channel star Tal Mosseri. Ido started his acting career in his early teens, and after his military service he graduated from the Nisan Nativ Acting Studio. His most famous roles include Tal Sasson in the series HaShir Shelanu (Our Song) and Oori in the movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan alongside Adam Sandler. Mosseri also sang the movie version of Born to Be a Winner.

Dawn Lanny-Gabay

In the Advanced Generation series, the role of May was given to Yafa Gabay's daughter, actress Dawn Lanny-Gabay (דון לני-גבאי; born December 21, 1986). Lanny-Gabay, who grew up in Giv'atayim, became famous in 2005 through the role of Roni Malki in the Israeli teen drama series, HaShminiya (The Octette), and later had several other roles in the Children Channel's productions. May was not Lanny-Gabay's first role on Pokémon - she had previously dubbed Jasmine, Melody, Lisa, Luna Carson, and Diana.

Other notable voice actors in the Hebrew dub include Liraz Bergman (לירז ברגמן) as Delia Ketchum, Netta Ravé (נטע רווה) as Officer Jenny, Dana Rishfi (דנה רישפי; born May 26, 1982) and Etti Castro (אתי קסטרו) as Nurse Joy, Dor Tsvigenbaum (דור צוויגנבאום; born October 17, 1960) as Professor Elm, Eyal Cohen (אייל כהן) and Ido Dankner (עידו דנקנר; born March 25, 1996) as Max, דור יצחק (Dor Itskhak) as Drew and Reggie, Meron Aharonovich (מירון אהרונוביץ) as Paul, Moran Nahor (מורן נהור) as Zoey, Adi Weiss (עדי וייס) as Professor Birch, Professor Rowan, the Magikarp salesman, and Mr. Sukizo, Kobbi Likorman (קובי ליקורמן; born April 11, 1991) as Barry and Hamilton, Gadi Levy (גדי לוי) as Cyrus, Liat Har Lev (ליאת הר לב) as Cynthia and Solana, and Ami Mendelman (עמי מנדלמן; born August 24, 1950) as the narrator, Dexter, and singer of the Pokérap.

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