Eli Amir, 79, a Baghdad-born writer and civil servant
who immigrated to Israel in 1950 was chosen to light a torch at the Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem.
Eli Amir being interviewed at the Babylonian Heritage Center in April 2017
Rising from being a messenger to the Prime Minister’s office, Amir became director of the Absorption ministry.
His semi-autobiographical novel
“Scapegoat” (1983), about a 13-year-old Iraqi boy who immigrates to
kibbutz in Israel, is part of the Israeli school syllabus. He is also
the author of “Farewell, Baghdad” (1992), “Saul’s Love” (1998) and
“Did I miss Baghdad?” Amir answered Tsionit Fattal Kuperwasser, who interviewed him at the Babylonian Heritage Center near Tel Aviv.” My Baghdad doesn’t exist anymore. It lives only in ‘Farewell Baghdad’. ”
Who am I? I’m a bird wandering between two worlds, sometimes I’m in the West, and sometimes in the East. I’m a man whose dual roots allow me to stand strong. My legs still get confused between two worlds, but I’m a Jewish Zionist Israeli.”
By contrast, here is how some Moroccans in Rabat were marking Israel Independence Day – by burning the Israeli flag and shouting ‘Death to Israel’.