Israeli puppeteer. David Ben Shalom (born Jan Baeck and better known as Honzo) emigrated from Czechoslovakia when he was 22 to Palestine in 1934, and settled in Kibbutz Givat Chaim (Haim). He created his puppet theatre, the Bubatron (Doll’s Theatre), doing children’s puppetry and workshops for children. After his first show in 1935, Ben Shalom began travelling the country. The character of the girl Ziva – “buba ziva” – represented the Jewish settlers of the land. For fifty years, he invented complex new techniques for his string puppets, and created numerous performances (folk tales, stories of Kibbutz life) influenced mostly by the puppetry tradition of Central Europe. In 1947, Ben Shalom was sent to Germany to work with refugees and, later, invited to London by UNIMA. In 1966, the Bubatron was invited to perform at the National Theatre Habima. Though he worked mostly with string figures, in the 1980s he experimented with rod puppetry.

In 1977-1979, Ben Shalom taught puppet theatre in the Theatre Department at Tel Aviv University and actively participated in the programme of Gathering of Young Jews. In 1976, his theatre gave rise to a children’s television series. In 1984, David Ben Shalom was made a Member of Honour of UNIMA. He has written a practical book on puppetry and a book on his theatre, Bubatron Guide (1986; Madrikh le-bubatron, translated into English as Manual of Puppetry), written in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The artist donated most of his puppets to Tel Aviv University.

(See Israel.)


  • Ben-Shalom, David, and Rotem Petrakovsky. Madrikh Le-Bubaton. Israel h. mo. 1, 1986. [Also called Manual of Puppetry with Hebrew editing: Rotem Petrakovsky, English translation: Asher Tarmon, Arabic translation: Morris Zaks.]