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was an Iraqi Jewish
The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities....
novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who immigrated to Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...
Samir Naqqash received his degree in Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....
at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...
. He was well known in the Arab world and among the Iraqi community in Israel, but only one of his works was translated into Hebrew
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...
. Naqqash won the Israeli Prime Ministerial Award for Arabic literature.
Naqqash often called himself an Arab who believed in Judaism. In the documentary "Forget Baghdad" (2002), he said that he had not wanted to go to Israel but was taken there in handcuffs by the Jewish Agency. He never felt at home in Israel and continued to publish and write in Arabic. He saw himself as part of the great tradition of Arabic folklore and literature. He was often criticized for his Arabic sounding first name but he refused to change it. After his death, Iraqi expatriates declared their wish to have him buried in Iraq, reasoning that he has shown more dedication to Iraq than any other expatriate.
Art, etc. / Exiled from Babylon, Obituary in Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...
by Neri Livneh, 6 August 2004
- Marking the Passing of Samir Naqqash, by David Shasha, Kedma, 22 July 2004
- Mizrahi Wanderings, by Nancy Hawker, New Left Review
New Left Review is a 160-page journal, published every two months from London, devoted to world politics, economy and culture. Often compared to the French-language Les Temps modernes, it is associated with Verso Books , and regularly features the essays of authorities on contemporary social...
25, January-February 2004