On this episode of Torah on Location, we conduct an interview (PART 1) with Israeli tour guide Shlomo Ben David, a close family member to international Israeli author Eli Amir who wrote The Dove Flyer, which was made into a feature film Farewell Baghdad, about the Jewish community in Iraq in the 1950s.
“Farewell Baghdad” – or “The Dove Flyer” in Hebrew – is based largely on the novel by Amir, who was born and raised in Iraq. He spent 13 years writing the book, which describes the life of the Jews of Iraq on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel. “Farewell Baghdad” depicts the volatile political atmosphere in Iraq which affected the Jewish community in Baghdad after June of 1941, when Iraqi Jews were attacked and killed and Jewish property was looted. It portrays the Jewish community including the David family that was affected by the Arab society around it, while at the same time bound by ties of friendship. Despite the conflicts portrayed in the film, its reflects the hope that bonds of friendship based on a shared cultural heritage will ultimately prevail.
Shlomo Ben David speaks candidly about some of the stories that were told to him by his father and gives us a very brief glimpse into his family history as caretakers on the compound that is the tomb of Ezekiel, in the small village of Kifl, 65km south of Baghdad.