Abstract

In modern times Iraqi Jews, writing in Arabic, were producing literary works that quickly became part of the mainstream of modern Arabic literature. Following the establishment of the state of Israel, many Iraqi-Jewish intellectuals, poets, and writers emigrated to the new state. On their arrival in Israel they faced a new linguistic situation in which the language (Hebrew) imposed upon them was limited to a single religion, a single nation, and a single ethnic entity, as opposed to the situation in Iraq, where Arab cultural and national identity encompassed Jews together with Muslims and Christians. Advocates of Western-orientated cultural identity also bewailed the "danger" of the "Arabization" of Israeli society. The immigrants thus faced a fierce clash between their original Iraqi-Arab narrative and the Jewish Zionist Western-oriented dominant master narrative—the natural Iraqi Jewish-Arab identity was split into Arab versus Jew. As a result, the literature 20th-century Iraqi Jews produced in Arabic has been gradually disappearing. The demise of Arabic literature among Jews has precipitated a controversy regarding whether Arab culture can be considered a "correct" source of inspiration for the Israeli Hebrew culture.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 92-123
Launched on MUSE
2006-02-15
Open Access
No
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