1.1 Origin
1.2 Work
1.3 Fellowships
1.4 Teaching
Scholarly Contribution
2.1 Various books
2.2 Various articles
2.3 Encyclopedia entries
Suggested Reading
3.1 Articles
  • The original article by Aviva Butt was drafted in January 2009
  • Reuven Snir--on his scholarly writings (an article)  
  • Early lecture on Reuven Snir's current area of research (excerpt)
  • Six Short Articles on the Iraqi Jewish Community
Prof. Reuven Snir
Reuven Snir held the 2009-2010 Radcliffe
Institute Fellowship at Harvard University.  

After his return to Israel, he took up a new
position in October 2010 at the University of
Haifa as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

Now in 2020, after extensive travel, he is
back in Israel and like us all enduring the
restrictions due to Covid19 . . .

The below excerpt is from Reuven Snir's lecture published on the Pierre Joris blog on 4
September 2010.  

The lecture preceded Snir's  publication of his book
Baghdad: The City in Verse (2013 HUP),
which he dedicated to his now deceased parents.  

The same lecture is also a sort of introductory comment to a new turn in the focus of Snir's
research reflected in his book
Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity: Interpellation, Exclusion, and
Inessential Solidarities
(Brill 2015).


The Arab Jews
Language, Poetry, and Singularity
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

What I remember very clearly about my father is that he was a great lover of poetry, Arabic
poetry, and always quoted verses for my benefit. I’m not sure that I remember any of them now
– I only know that he insisted on reciting them, even though, thanks to my Zionist education, I
didn’t want to listen. But probably because I was so dumb that he had to recite them again and
again I think I have managed, many years later, to reconstruct one verse: because I
remembered that it had something to do with camels and water, and because I had some sense
of the music, which is the melody of the kāmil Arabic meter. It is a verse that has been
attributed to the blind ascetic medieval poet Abū al-’Alā’ al-Ma’arrī (973-1058 CE), who, it has
been argued, influenced Dante Alighieri (1265-1321 CE) in his Divine Comedy.

Mine proved later to be a tragedy, not at all divine.
"Like camels in the desert, suffering from thirst, while the water is on their back . . ."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To see the whole lecture, go to:
English publications in 2013, 2015 and 2019
1.1 Origin
Reuven Snir was born in 1953 in Haifa.  His parents, compelled by the political climate of the times, had left Baghdad for the
Zionist State of Israel in 1951. His father, Eliyahu Sharabani (1921-1979), was a communist activist with a profound love for
Arabic poetry.  In 1976, the young Reuven commenced his tertiary study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  His father died in
the same year that he completed his first degree.  Haunted by childhood memories, he searched for his roots through his studies
which included the field of literary criticism. Continuing his higher education at the same university, he studied
philosophy, Islamic mysticism and literature, and having obtained the M.A. was eventually in 1987 granted the Ph.D. in Arabic
Language and Literature.

1.2 Work
REUVEN SNIR, Israeli scholar, Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, was Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 2010 to 2016
at the University of Haifa. In the course of his academic career, he has documented and substantiated his theories in Jewish
cultural and literary history in context of Arab civilization from early Arab civilization to modern times – focusing especially on Iraq
and Iraqi Jews. He has also dealt with the fate of the Iraqi Jews and other Sephardic communities in the Zionist State of Israel
mainly through an account of the fate of writers. He also documented the rise and demise of modern Palestinian theatre, which to
a great extent was a multi-cultural event. He has adhered to his belief that participation in the general community is the
prerogative of any scholar of Arabic. His recent publication of the book
Baghdad: The City in Verse (2013: HUP) exemplifies his
ongoing commitment to this principle, as do his recent publications in Hebrew on the Syrian poet Adonis and the Palestinian poet
Mahmoud Darwish.

With his recent major study, his book
Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity: Interpellation, Exclusion and Inessential Solidarities
(2015: Brill), Professor Snir in this major work shifts his focus. Previously, he wrote extensively on Arab-Jewish culture, especially
with the goal of exposing the large corpus of Jewish literary texts and the Jewish contribution to Arabic culture. However, with
this, his latest book, he picks up on the notions of identity, inevitably present in previous writings, and relates these notions of
identity to his more recent up-to-date research in the humanities and social sciences on identity
per se.  

Other books by Reuven Snir are:


2002. Rak‘atan fi al-‘Ishq: Dirasa fi Shi‘r ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayyati  [Two Rak‘as inLove: A Study on Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayyati’
s Poetry] [Arabic] (Beirut: Dar al-Saqi). 338pp.


2005. ‘Arviyut, Yahadut, Tsiyonut: Ma’avak Zehuyot ba-Yetsira shel Yehude ‘Iraq [Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A Struggle of
Identities in the Literature of Iraqi Jews] [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute). 666pp.


Modern Arabic Literature: A Functional Dynamic Historical Model (Toronto: York Press). 92pp.

Palestinian Theatre in Literaturen im Kontext vol.20 (Wiesbaden: Reichert). 234pp.

Religion, Mysticism and Modern Arabic Literature (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag). 178pp.

1.3 Fellowships

He has throughout the years held various fellowships, especially in Germany and the United States of America, where in 2009-
2010 he was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard University.

His research at the Radcliffe Institute would later serve two projects. It initially gave birth to his book
Baghdad: the City in Verse
(HUP 2013) with its Foreword by Roger Allen and Afterword by the Iraqi poet Abdul Kader El Janabi. This book is an anthology of
verse with Introduction, illustrating the history of the city of Baghdad.

And then another book would appear on the subject of identity, a general preoccupation among the participating fellows at the
Radcliffe Institute. This book is entitled
Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity: Interpellation, Exclusion and Inessential Solidarities
(Brill 2015).   

3.1 Articles
A few articles typifying Reuven Snir's work could be said to be:

‘“We are Arabs before we are Jews’: the Emergence and Demise of Arab-Jewish Culture in Modern Times” (EJOS VIII [2005],
no. 9, 1-47)

“When the Time Stopped’: Ishaq Bar-Moshe as Arab-Jewish Writer in Israel,” Jewish Social Studies 11.2 (2005), pp. 102-135.  

“Other Barbarians Will Come”: Intertextuality, Meta-Poetry, and Meta-Myth in Mahmud Darwish’s Poetry,” (Hala Khamis Nassar
and Najat Rahman (eds.), Mahmoud Darwish, Exile’s Poet : Critical Essays [Northampton, MA : Interlink Books, 2008], pp. 123-
For a list of Reuven Snir's articles, encyclopedia entries and work in general, see Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia:
English title:
Adonis: Index of the Acts of the
Translated with Introduction and
Notes by Reuven Snir. 2012.
Keshev Publishing House:Israel.
English title:
Mahmoud Darwish: Fifty Years of
Translation. Introduction and
Annotation by Reuven Snir 2015
Keshev Publishing House Israel
On Zionism in Iraq in the 20th century and the opposition it met from the Jewish community and from leading Jewish writers:

1.  The Jewish Literary Society (Baghdad)

The Jewish Literary Society in Baghdad (Jam‘iyya Adabiyya Isra’iliyya), the first Zionist association in Iraq, established July 15,
1920. In the guise of a literary society, its mission was to promote the teaching of the Hebrew language and Jewish studies.
The president of the new society, Salman Reuven Hayya (1898?-1920) was a police officer; Salman Shina (1898-1978) was the
secretary. In August 1920 the society opened up a library and club where lectures were to be held. On November 19, 1920, the
society published the first issue of the literary weekly
Yeshurun, half in Hebrew and half in Judeo-Arabic in Hebrew characters;
the editors were Sayyun Adhra‘i and Ya‘qub Sayyun, and the manager was Aharon Sassoon ben Eliahu Nahum (Ha-Moreh). In
order to promote Zionist and Jewish awareness among local community members, the weekly published poems in Hebrew and
various essays on the peculiarities of Jewish history and culture, such as a biography of Maimonides. In December of the same
year, after five issues (November 19-December 17, 1920), publication ceased due to what were described as technical
difficulties. On December 24, 1920, Hayya was assassinated, seemingly due to his work with the police force. Although thought
unrelated to his being president of the society, his assassination created dissension among the society members and the
resultant indecision weakened the pursuit of its activities.

Hayyim J. Cohen, Ha-Pe‘ilut ha-Tsionit be-‘Iraq [Zionist Activity in Iraq], Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, 1969, 38-41.
Yosef Meir (Yehoshafat). Me-‘Ever la-Midbar: Ha-Mahteret ha-Halutsit be ‘Iraq [English title: Beyond the Desert: Underground
Activities In Iraq 1941-1951], Ministry of Defence, Tel-Aviv, 1973, 15.
Reuven Snir, ‘Arviyut, Yahadut, Tsiyonut: Ma’avak Zehuyot ba-Yetsira shel Yehude ‘Iraq [Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A
Struggle of Identities in the Literature of Iraqi Jews], Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, 2005, 64-65.

2. Mesopotamian Zionist Committee (Baghdad)

The Mesopotamian Zionist Committee (Baghdad) established March 5, 1921 with the assistance of the Jewish Agency.
Committee head, Aharon Sassoon ben Eliahu Nahum (1877-1962), called Ha-Moreh, was considered to be the first Iraqi Jew
attracted to political Zionism. The committee took over the club and the library of the Jewish Literary Society. It pushed forward
the Zionist cause in Iraq. Zionist associations were set up in Basra, Imara, Khanakin, and Irbil; they managed to work freely
despite lack of formal recognition by the authorities. Following the publication of the law of associations in July 1922, the
committee submitted a request for permission but the Minister of Interior delayed the permission until 1924 arguing that an Arab
government could not permit activities contrary to Arab interests. Due to Zionist pressure on Sir J.E. Shuckburgh, the Secretary
of State for the colonies, the Iraqi authorities agreed to ignore the Zionist activities held in secret and only in Baghdad and
Basra. Committee activities included courses in Hebrew and other Jewish matters, generally held in the Pardes Yeladim School
(established in 1923). In 1935 following escalation of events in Palestine, all Zionist activity in Iraq was banned.

Yosef Meir (Yehoshafat). Me-‘Ever la-Midbar: Ha-Mahteret ha-Halutsit be ‘Iraq [English title: Beyond the Desert: Underground
Activities In Iraq 1941-1951], Ministry of Defence, Tel-Aviv, 1973, 16-22.
Hayyim J. Cohen, Ha-Pe‘ilut ha-Tsionit be-‘Iraq [Zionist Activity in Iraq], Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, 1969, 41-45.

3.  Sha’ul, Anwar (1904-1984)

Iraqi poet, short story writer, playwright, journalist, lexicographer, and translator. On his mother’s side, he was a grandson of an
Austrian tailor, Hermann Rosenfeld, who had settled in Baghdad in 1850 and became active in Jewish communal affairs such as
Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris to open a school in Baghdad. On his father’s side, he was related to the
distinguished Iraqi Sassoon family one of whom, Sheikh Sassoon ben Salih (1750-1830), was the Nasi’ (President) of the
Jewish community in Baghdad for almost forty years. Sha’ul was born in al-Hilla in southern Iraq where the Jewish minority
mixed freely with the Muslim majority. After his mother died when he was just six months old he was breast-fed by a Muslim wet
nurse. He was educated at the
Alliance Israélite Universelle school in al-Hilla, and in the wake of the First World War his family
moved to Baghdad but following the great flood of the Tigris in Spring 1915 the family returned to al-Hilla where because of the
war, the father’s business as a seed merchant went down. In the Winter of 1916, his brother who had been recruited to the
Turkish army was treated in a Baghdadi hospital and the family decided to resettle in Baghdad in order to take care of him. In
Baghdad, Sha’ul was enrolled at Midrash Talmud Torah, then he went to al-Ta‘awun School, later called the Rachel Shahmun
School. When he was 14-years-old he attended the Baghdadi
Alliance Israélite Universelle School where he spent five years
which period he would later consider as fundamental in the development of his personality as an Iraqi Arab intellectual. He
worked as a teacher for Arabic language at Jewish schools and at the same time he graduated from the Law College and
worked as advisor to several governmental institutions and companies. From the early 1920s, Sha’ul was very active in local
literary life as a writer of poetry and prose as well as being a translator from foreign languages, especially French and English.
In 1922 he led a group of students who founded a library of Arabic books in order to advance the renaissance of the Jewish
local community and help it become an integral part of the Iraqi nation. His vision received impetus when the lawyer Salman
Shina (1898-1978) offered him the editorship of the newly founded Arabic journal
al-Misbah (The Candlestick) - the first issue
was published on 10 April 1924 with Sha’ul as editor under the pseudonym of Ibn al-Samaw’al, an allusion to the pre-Islamic
Jewish poet al-Samaw’al ibn ‘Adiya’. His poem “The Spring,” published in the first issue of the journal, illustrated his hope for a
new era of national unity in Iraq far removed from any opportunistic considerations or religious fanaticism. However, Sha’ul left
his position within one year and the journal was then published from a different standpoint until 1929 under the editorship of
Shina himself.

Adhering to the slogan “religion is for God, and the homeland for all,” and steeped in the confidence that his religion affiliation
did not pose an obstacle to his integrating into Iraqi society, in December 1929 at the al-Kaylani Mosque in Baghdad, he read
an elegy for the deceased Iraqi leader ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-Sa‘dun. In 1929 Sha’ul founded a new journal,
al-Hasid (The Reaper)
(1929-1938) - the first issue was published on 14 February 1929. The journal soon became one of the most influential Iraqi
literary journals of the 1930s.

Sha’ul’s major contribution to the Iraqi literature was with his short stories, which incorporated motifs from popular storytelling
and used modernist conceptions of the genre. His acquaintance with these conceptions was due to his intensive activity in the
field of literary translations - among his contributions were a translation of Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell (1932) and the anthology
min al-Gharb
(Stories from the West) (1937), which includes short stories translated from French, Russian, English, Italian,
Turkish, German, and even Yiddish which he was familiar with from his Austrian grandfather. His first original story, “al-‘Ashiq al-
Ghadir” (The Unfaithful Lover), was published in November 1924 in
al-Misbah. Thanks to Sha’ul and other pioneers of the genre,
from the 1930s the Iraqi short story became a defined genre - a prose narrative limited in characters and situations, concerned
with a single effect. Character is revealed, not developed although generally a single aspect of personality undergoes change or
is revealed as the result of conflict. In 1930 Sha’ul published
al-Hisad al-Awwal (1930, The First Harvest), one of the first Iraqi
collections, which included 31 short stories. In the introduction he says that the short story art should not be based on
“enthusiastic kisses exchanged by a couple of lovers,” but rather has roots in the customs, traditions, and moral standards of
the surrounding society. The author should focus on society’s shortcomings and existing confusions and work hard for social

Out of conviction that Jews must live in Iraq under the umbrella of Arab culture, Sha’ul opposed the Zionist activities, and during
the 1930s, when the political tension between the authorities and the Jews escalated, he signed an anti-Zionist statement. He
also refused to emigrate to Israel with the mass emigration of the 1950s, continued to work in the printing company he founded
in 1945, and went on with his literary activities publishing his second volume of short stories,
Fi Ziham al-Madina (1955, In the
Turmoil of the City). One year later he published his first collection of poems,
Hamasat al-Zaman (1956, The Whispers of
Time). He also contributed to Iraqi theatre and wrote the script and songs to the first Iraqi film entitled ‘Alya wa-‘Isam, after the
names of its protagonists (1948). In April 1969, less than two years after the war of June 1967, he participated, together with
Mir Basri (1911-2006), in the Iraqi delegation to the Conference of Arab Writers held then in Baghdad. Only in 1971, seeing that
his activities in Iraq as a Jew were ever more confined in the existing political milieu did he emigrate to Israel. In the Jewish
state, Sha’ul  tried to continue his literary activities, even trying his hand at writing Hebrew poetry. However, due to the low
status of Arab culture in Israel his literary activities were very limited. In 1980 he published his autobiography,
Qissat Hayati fi
Wadi al-Rafidayn
(The Story of My Life in Mesopotamia), which though written in a Zionist environment is a rare testimony to
the deep longing of an Arab-Jewish intellectual for his beloved Iraqi homeland. One year before his death, Sha’ul published a
new poetry collection
Wa-Bazagha Fajr Jadid (1983, And a New Dawn Broke) including poems written in Iraq and in Israel.
Sha’ul, the father of the Iraqi Arab-Jewish vision which emerged in Baghdad in the 1920s, ended his life in Israel after he had
fallen into utter oblivion. Defeated by the Zionist dream, the patriotic Israeli poems he wrote in his last years were merely tragic
landmarks for the irony of fate.

E. Marmorstein, “Two Iraqi Jewish Short Story Writers: A Suggestion for Social Research,” The Jewish Journal of Sociology I,
2 (1959), 187-200.
S. Moreh, Short Stories by Jewish Writers from Iraq, Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 1981, 81-87.
M.H. Mudhi, The Origin and Development of the Iraqi-Jewish Short Story from 1922-1972 (Ph.D Thesis, University of Exeter,
1988)  191-230 (for a list of Sha’ul’s short stories published in newspapers and magazines, see ibid, pp. 497-501.
N. E. Berg, Exile from Exile: Israeli Writers from Iraq, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1996, 31-35.
R. Snir, “‘My Heart Beats with Love of the Arabs’: Iraqi Jews Writing in Arabic in the Twentieth Century,” Journal of Modern
Jewish Studies II, 2 (2002) 217-238.
Reuven Snir, ‘Arviyut, Yahadut, Tsiyonut: Ma’avak Zehuyot ba-Yetsira shel Yehude ‘Iraq [Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A
Struggle of Identities in the Literature of Iraqi Jews], Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, 2005 (index).

4. Sha‘shu‘a, Salim Murad (b. 1926)

Iraqi poet, writer, journalist, and jurist. Born in Baghdad, he was educated at the
Alliance Israelite Universelle School and the
Shammash School. After graduating from the Law College he worked as a lawyer together with publishing his poetry in the Iraqi
press. In 1948 he founded
al-Muruj (The Valleys), a literary social journal, but managed to publish only one issue. In 1950, he
was imprisoned on the charge of spreading Zionist propaganda. After his immigration to Israel in 1951, Sha‘shu‘a’s poetry
became permeated with Zionist patriotism and at the same time preached coexistence between Jews, Muslims and Christians.
In so doing he conformed with the Israeli-Zionist Establishment’s aim of cultivating “positive” culture among the Palestinian
minority and strengthening their relationship to the Jewish state. In 1955 he participated in the founding of the Association of
Arabic Poets in Israel and was elected president. Among the aims of the association was “to promote cooperation in order to
ease the tension in the region and bring peace.” Later when the Arab Writers’ Association was established he was elected to be
president as well. In 1957-1958, he edited
Nashrat al-Athir (The Ether Publication), the official organ of Dar al-Idha‘a
al-Isra’iliyya (Israeli Broadcasting House). Sha‘shu‘a  dedicated his first poetry collection,
Fi ‘Alam al-Nur (1959, In the World of
Light), to President Yitzhak Ben Zvi (1884-1963) recalling the custom of medieval Arab court poets, who glorified and praised
their patrons. He also appended a rhetorical introduction, glorifying the State of Israel, in which “ideas are distinguished like rays
of the sun and thoughts sparkle like moons.” In other collections, such as
Ughniyyat li-Biladi (1976, Melodies to My
Country) and
Fi ‘Alam al-Salam (1996, In the World of Peace) he frequently called for cooperation between Arabs and Jews to
promote peace in the Middle East. The same kind of subject matter was also at the heart of his book Zuhur wa-‘Uṭur (Flowers
and Perfumes) published in 2000. He also published
al-‘Asr al-Dhahabi: Safahat min al-Ta‘awun al-Yahudi al-‘Arabi fi al-
(1979, The Golden Age: Pages of Cooperation Between Jews and Arabs in Andalusia), highlighting the bright image of
tripartite religious coexistence in al-Andalus. Sha‘shu‘a was also active in the field of musical education and in 1961 took part in
the publication of
Baqat Alhan (English title: Garlands of Melodies), a collection of Arabic songs. A year later he published his
own collection of songs and poems for children,
al-Anashid wa-l-Mahfużat al-Madrasiyya (1962, Hymns and Memorized
Material for School Children), which was adopted by the Ministry of Education and Culture for Arab Israeli schools.

Meisami J. S. & Starkey, P. (eds.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature (London and New York: Routledge, 1998)  II, 708-709.
Moreh S. & ‘Abbasi M.: Tarajim wa-Athar fi al-Adab al-‘Arabi fi Isra’il 1948-1986 [Biographies and Bibliographies in Arabic
Literature in Israel 1948-1986] (Jerusalem & Shfaram: Dar al-Mashriq, 1987) 117-119.
Reuven Snir, ‘Arviyut, Yahadut, Tsiyonut: Ma’avak Zehuyot ba-Yetsira shel Yehude ‘Iraq [Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A
Struggle of Identities in the Literature of Iraqi Jews], Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, 2005,  261-272.

5.  Mikha’il, Murad (1906-1986)

Iraqi poet, short story writer, scholar, literary historian, and educator. Born in Baghdad, he was educated at the Rachel
Shahmun School and the
Alliance Israélite Universelle School; in 1938 he graduated from the Baghdad Law College. Between
1928-1940 he taught the Arabic language and literature at the Shammash School and in 1941 he
was appointed as its headmaster holding that position until 1947. From the early 1920s, Mikha’il had shown a strong interest in
poetry and to a lesser degree in fiction. In 1922 he had published his first poems in Baghdadi periodicals and later also in the
Jewish Arabic magazine
al-Misbah (The Candlestick), where he wrote also under the pseudonym Sakin al-Ghabat (The Dweller
of the Forests). His strophic poem “‘Ibadat al-Hubb” (The Worship of Love), published in the first issue of
al-Misbah (10 April
1924), illustrated his Arab-Iraqi cultural vision as far removed from any opportunistic considerations - the persona addresses a
beloved female in an attempt to bridge between the reality and a utopian vision of harmony and love. Mikha’il was a pioneer of
the Iraqi prose poem (
shi‘r manthur), a recent poetic innovation at the time in Arabic literature, trying to steer clear of the formal
strict conventions of the Arabic
qasida in order to be able to express the modernist sensibility. To that end, he adopted the
strophic structure of the Andalusian
muwashshahat and other poetic types with various rhymes and prosodical schemes. In
1931 he published a collection of prose poems,
al-Muruj wa-l-Sahara (The Valleys and Deserts), gifted to the readers of al-
(The Reaper), a journal owned and edited by his colleague Anwar Sha’ul (1904-1984). Mikha’il was also considered to
have been the first in Iraq to publish a short story in the Western sense with his “Shahid al-Waṭan wa-Shahidat al-Hubb” (The
Martyr of the Homeland and The Martyress of Love) published in
al-Mufid in March-April 1922. In both poetry and fiction he
adopted a romantic vision, with sharp dichotomy between the individual and the surrounding society, preferring the supremacy
of the emotions to the intellect and seeing the imagination as the ladder up to a utopian world free of the concerns of everyday

In 1947 Mikha’il moved to Teheran where he taught in Iraqi Jewish community schools. Immigrating to Israel in 1949, Mikha’il
launched wide activities in the Israeli Arabic literary, journalistic and educational fields. He served as literary editor for
(The Day) and
al-Anba’ (The News) newspapers, also editing programs for Dar al-Idha‘a al-Isra’iliyya, the Israeli Arabic
broadcasting station. He completed his MA studies at the Hebrew University and then did his Ph.D. thesis on the Cairan Geniza
at Tel-Aviv University. He also worked as a teacher and inspector in the Israeli Arab educational system and lectured at Tel Aviv
University. Arabic poet and writer for more than 60 years, Mikha’il’s last poem, a week before his death, was addressed to his
daughter: “My daughter, do not give up hope! / The dawn is knocking on our door / Leading our caravan to a paradise of
dreams and hopes / The thorns of life will disappear from our path / My daughter, do not give up hope!” (trans. by D. Semah).
Only after his death did his wife publish his complete works under the title al-A‘mal al-Shi‘riyya al-Kamila (1988, Complete
Poetic works).

Glenda Abramson (ed.), Encyclopedia of Modern Jewish Culture, London New York: Routledge, 2005, II, pp. 577-578.
Reuven Snir, “‘My Heart Beats with Love of the Arabs’: Iraqi Jews Writing in Arabic in the Twentieth Century,” Journal of
Modern Jewish Studies II, 2 (2002) 217-238.
idem., ‘Arviyut, Yahadut, Tsiyonut: Ma’avak Zehuyot ba-Yetsira shel Yehude ‘Iraq [Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A Struggle
of Identities in the Literature of Iraqi Jews], Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, 2005, 35-36, 93-106, 146-150, 529.
idem., “‘Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for Everyone’: Arab-Jewish Writers in Modern Iraq and and the Clash of
Narratives after their Immigration to Israel,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 126.3 (2006) 385-386.

6.  Khadduri, Sassoon (1886-1971)

Sassoon Khadduri, head of the Baghdadi Jewish community for three terms (1928-1930; 1933-1949, 1953-1971), was a strong
supporter of the Jewish “Iraqi orientation” and refused  to take any steps that could harm the status of the Jews in Iraq. In line
with Jewish leadership in Iraq, he outright rejected Zionist ideology or any collaboration with Zionism. When during the 1930s, a
call was issued in Jerusalem for a boycott of German merchandise, he stated that such a boycott was a political step to which
the Jews as a minority could not respond. Together with other Jewish notables he published declarations condemning Zionism
and supporting the Palestinians. In one instance, he participated with more than 30 eminent Jews in sending a telegram to the
secretariat of the League of Nations in Geneva expressing support for the Palestinians. Declaring that Palestine belonged to the
Palestinians, on October 8, 1936, Khadduri issued a statement severing all ties between the Jews of Iraq and Zionist movement
in Palestine. On October 23, 1949, Khadduri confronted a demonstration staged by sisters and mothers of Jewish mainly
political detainees; they blamed Khadduri for not obtaining their release. When they dragged him out of his office, he was
injured. On October 29, 1949, in a memorandum he sent to the Iraqi Deputy Premier, he protested against the persecution of
Jews and police brutality during the searches and arrests. The above events were to precipitate his resignation. Khadduri
considered the Zionist underground activities as undermining his own authority, and even more importantly as liable to be
dangerously harmful to the Jewish community. This put him in uncompromising opposition to the underground leaders who
seized on his ineffectuality to justify his removal from power. On November 19, 1949, the members of the Jewish community
suddenly stopped buying meat and since the tax levied on kosher slaughtering was of great financial benefit to the community,
the fear was that all the community institutions would be paralysed. Khadduri perceived the boycott as a vote of no confidence;
he submitted his resignation which was accepted on December 10, 1949. On the following day the meat boycott was lifted.
The  Zionist underground considered his resignation to be a great victory for the Zionist movement. On October 31, 1953,
however, after the mass immigration to Israel, Khadduri returned to a leadership role when he was appointed as the acting
head of the community. In a conversation with Salman Darwish in 1962, he was still confident that Iraq was the historical
homeland of the Jews, and a shining future was still waiting for them there.


Iraqi Jews speak for themselves, Dar al-Jumhuriyya, Baghdad, 1969, 3-4.
Salman Darwish, Kull Shay’ Hadi’ fi al-‘Iyada [All is Quiet in the Surgery], Rabiṭat al-Jami‘iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-‘Iraq,
Jerusalem, 1981, 155.
Moshe Gat, The Jewish Exodus from Iraq 1948-1951, Frank Cass, London, 1997, 19, 58, 60-61, 62-65, 193.
Nissim Kazzaz, Ha-Yehudim be-‘Iraq ba-Me’a ha-‘Esrim [The Jews in Iraq in the Twentieth Century], Ben-Zvi Institute,
Jerusalem, 1991, 86, 92, 118, 188, 194, 228-229, 236, 264-265, 269, 280-281.
Nissim Kazzaz, Sofa shel Gola: Ha-Yehudim be-‘Iraq akhre ha-‘Aliya ha-Hamonit 1951-2000 [The End of a Diaspora: The Jews
in Iraq after the Mass Immigration 1951-2000]. The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, Or-Yehuda, 2002, 38, 60.
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Baghdad: The City in Verse
Translated and Edited
by Reuven Snir

2013 HUP
Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity?
Interpellation, Exclusion and Inessential
by Reuven Snir
2015 Brill
Arab-Jewish Literature: The Birth
and Demise of the Arabic Short Story
by Reuven Snir
2019 Brill

The stories discussed in the book
re-enact the various stages of the
development of Arab-Jewish
identity during the twentieth
century and are studied in the
relevant updated theoretical and
literary contexts.
An anthology of sixteen translated
stories is included.

an account of the emergence of the art of
the Arabic short story among the Arabized Jews during the 1920s,
especially in Iraq and Egypt, its development in the next two
decades, until the emigration to Israel after 1948, and the efforts to
continue the literary writing in Israeli society, the shift to Hebrew,
and its current demise. The stories discussed in the book re-enact the
various stages of the development of Arab-Jewish identity during
the twentieth century and are studied in the relevant updated
theoretical and literary contexts. An anthology ofsixteen
translated stories is also included as an appendix to the book.
and 2015 BELOW