Realism in the contemporary Hebrew novel Eli Amir's novel "The Bird of Pigeons" as a model

הריאליזם ברומן העברי המודרני הרומן של אלי עמיר "מפריח היונים" כדוגמה


  • Majeed Aboud Rheima University of Baghdad, College of Languages, Department of Hebrew, Baghdad, Iraq



Holocaust , Aharon Appelfeld , Holocaust literature, הרומן העברי , הרומן הריאליסטי, הסיפור, הספרות העברית, המבנה האמנותי


This research sheds light on realism in one of the Hebrew novels, which is the novel "Matir al-Hamam" by the Jewish writer of Iraqi origin, Eli Amir. Realism is a method for portraying life in all its aspects honestly, as it describes the various abstract things, the lifestyle of the environment accurately. Realism derives its material from reality and reflects it as much as it can through the various literary productions that appear. The Jewish writer used this genre in writing his novel (The Bird of Pigeons), which occupied the list of the most widely read novels. This novel reveals to us the extent of the Jews' attachment to their Iraqi singing heritage, in addition to that, the writer was able to take the reader to the alleys of Baghdad, the beaches of the Tigris, and the picturesque nature.

And since the novelist Eli Amir is a Jew of Iraqi origin, it became clear to me that his novel is closely related to the Iraqi environment, and we find among its folds many events that reflect his biography and the history of the Jewish community in Iraq. For the Baghdadi families and other sects, and all these events formed a major suggestive source in his novel, in order to draw the reader's attention to the situation in Iraq and to highlight the aesthetic side of the novel. Especially the names of the Baghdadi lanes and streets, and other places, and the authentic Baghdadi food, and those related to Jewish rites and holidays that stick in the mind of the writer. Accordingly, I shed light on his autobiography, after that I tried to prove my hypothesis that the novel "Matir al-Hamam" is a contemporary Hebrew novel. Through study and analysis, it became clear to us that the realistic character is predominant in its writing style.

The research concludes that the novel "The Bird of the Pigeons" is directed specifically at the Iraqi reader (Arab and Jew). In a surprising phenomenon, the writer Eli Amir succeeded in describing the life of Jews in the Iraqi environment and the neighborhoods of Baghdad at that period in an accurate and detailed manner, such as the events of the hanging of a prominent Jewish figure, ShafiqAdas, and the events of Farhoud and other events, the writer also used popular Iraqi words to emphasize his mastery of the colloquial Iraqi language, so his style was simple and far from complicated.

The reason for our choice of the realist school was due to the place it occupies in world literature in general and modern Hebrew literature in particular, and because of its uniqueness in its accuracy of depiction in conveying the facts and events that formed the features of Jewish society in that era or other. The research concluded that realism has a special literary structure that distinguishes it. It tried to criticize the negative aspects of Jewish society by presenting the positive and negative characters present in society, especially social injustice.

This research includes an introduction, in which I dealt with an extensive overview of realism and its relationship to other literatures, and the most prominent realistic writers in modern Hebrew literature. This introduction was followed by an overview of the life of the writers in our research, and then the subject of the research, which included the novel "The Bird of Pigeons". At the end of the research comes the conclusions that I reached through my study of this novel.


     מחקר זה שופך אור על הריאליזם באחד הרומנים העבריים, שהוא הרומן "מפריח היונים" מאת הסופר היהודי ממוצא עיראקי, אלי עמיר. ריאליזם הוא שיטה לתיאור החיים על כל היבטיהם ביושר, שכן הוא מתאר את הדברים המופשטים השונים, את אורח החיים של הסביבה בצורה מדויקת. הריאליזם שואב את החומר שלו מהמציאות ומשקף אותה ככל יכולתו באמצעות ההפקות הספרותיות השונות המופיעות. הסופר היהודי השתמש בז'אנר זה בכתיבת הרומן שלו "מפריח היונים", שתפס את רשימת הרומנים הנקראים ביותר.  הרומן הזה חושף בפנינו את מידת ההתקשרות של היהודים למורשת השירה העיראקית שלהם, בנוסף לכך הצליח הסופר לקחת את הקורא לסמטאות בגדאד, לחופי החידקל ולטבע הציורי ומכיוון שהסופר אלי עמיר הוא יהודי ממוצא עיראקי, התברר לי שהרומן שלו קשור קשר הדוק לסביבה העיראקית, ואנו מוצאים בין קפליו אירועים רבים המשקפים את הביוגרפיה שלו ואת תולדות הקהילה היהודית בעיראק.

     למשפחות הבגדדיות ולכתות אחרות, וכל האירועים הללו היוו מקור סוגסטיבי מרכזי ברומן שלו, כדי להסב את תשומת לב הקורא למצב בעיראק ולהדגיש את הצד האסתטי של הרומן.

Author Biography

Majeed Aboud Rheima, University of Baghdad, College of Languages, Department of Hebrew, Baghdad, Iraq




How to Cite

Rheima, M. A. (2023). Realism in the contemporary Hebrew novel Eli Amir’s novel "The Bird of Pigeons" as a model: הריאליזם ברומן העברי המודרני הרומן של אלי עמיר "מפריח היונים" כדוגמה. Journal of the College of Languages (JCL), (48), 256–282.



Department of Hebrew language