Current Issue

Banipal 72 - Iraqi Jewish Writers

The front cover image is of Iraqi-Jewish writer Maryam al-Mulla (1927-2013)

This issue is available as a paperback (ISBN 978-1-913043-28-5)
or as part of a digital
or a print subscription.

Editor’s Foreword


Guest editors Yehouda Shenhav-Shahrabani and Yuval Evri introduce the main feature

Haviva Pedaya: The Iraqi Jewish Literary Networks

Ammiel Alcalay: In & Out of Place – Memories of Nissim Rejwan, Shimon Ballas, and Samir Naqqash


Yuval Evri: Shimon Ballas, Exile by Choice

Shimon Ballas: The Imagined Childhood, translated from the Hebrew by Eran Edry

Shimon Ballas: He Loved Life (Ahabba al-Hayat), a short story translated from the Arabic by Hana Morgenstern


Uri Horesh and Orit Bashkin: Communism, Commitment and Humanity: David Semah

David Semah: He shall return, a poem translated from the Arabic by Uri Horesh


Ryan Zohar
: Reading Sami Michael

Sami Michael: Blessed Is the Lord (Tabarak al-Rabb), translated from the Arabic by Ryan Zohar

Sami Michael: Two Women (Imra’ataan), translated from the Arabic by Hana Morgenstern


Tami Israeli: The Round Dove of Baghdad: The Poetry of Amira Hess in Context

Amira Hess: How Long Must We Be Remade, poems translated from the Hebrew by Eran Edry


Reuven Snir: Maryam al-Mulla, as an Iraqi-Jewish Feminist Activist

Maryam al-Mulla: His Tragedy, a Proverb, translated from the Arabic by Aviva Butt and Reuven Snir


Almog Behar: Exploring Ronny Someck

Ronny Someck: Eight Poems, translated from the Hebrew by Eran Edry


Mona Yahia: Matches, a short story


Lital Levy: Reading Samir Naqqash

Samir Naqqash: Shlomo the Kurd, Myself, and Time, an excerpt, translated from the Arabic by Zeena Faulk



Hadas Shabat Nadir: The Quest for Home, the Quest for Identity: The Jewish-Muslim Prospect in Eli Amir

Eli Amir: The Bicycle Boy, an excerpt from the novel, translated from the Hebrew by Eran Edry


Nael el-Toukhy Complete but unfinished – on translating Chahla and Hezquel from Hebrew to Arabic, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright

Almog Behar Chahla and Hezquel, an excerpt, translated from the Hebrew by Dan Cern and Eran Edry


Orit Bashkin

Shalom Darwish (1913-1997) Gender and Intersectionality

Shalom Darwish

In the Year 2532, a story translated from the Arabic by Uri Horesh



Mati Shemoelof Can’t Prostrate myself at my Grandmother’s Grave, a poem translated from the Hebrew by Eran Edry


Reuven Snir

“Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for Everyone” – Anwar Sha’ul and the Rise and Demise of Arabic Literature by Jews


Anwar Sha’ul

Me and the Unknown Other Half: Which of Us Sought the Other? translated from the Arabic by Zeena Faulk

Ishaq Bar-Moshe

Iraqi Days, an excerpt from his novel Ayyam al-Iraq, translated by Jonathan Wright


Orit Bashkin: Secularism, Spirituality and Reform – Ya‘qub Balbul


Haviva Pedaya: Baghdad, a poem, translated from the Hebrew by Howard Cohen

Almog Behar: On the Poetry of Haviva Pedaya



 Poems of Alexandria and New York       

Trino Cruz reviews Poems of Alexandria and New York by Ahmed Morsi
.................... Ahmed Morsi: The Poet of Two Cities

Susannah Tarbush reviews The Madness of Despair by Ghalya F T Al Said
.................... The love triangle that becomes a vicious circle

Hannah Somerville reviews Sarajevo Firewood by Saïd Khatibi
................. A singular tale of survival and self-realization

Fayez Ghazi reviews Foolishness as No One Told It by Samir Kacimi
.................... The naked truth of silvertongued corruption




• “The government is trying to overthrow the people”

• More than a "small book full of everyday doings and happenings"

* Sea voyages from Oman to Africa herald, at first, a new life

* a novel of love, friendship, survival and acceptance for a transgender youth


• The Syrian poet's poem, written while in incarcerated. Plus interview with him

*  What and where is home – the central question of each story

• The struggle of a street kid for life against state oppression

• A touching and humorous coming-of-age story

   Between Beirut and the Moon   The Funambulists  

• Books teach Zabor a new language and writing becomes a gift

• Adam comes of age with gunfire, turmoil and comedy in post-civil war Beirut

• An exploration of contemporary Arab diasporic poetry through works of six women poets

• Anthology of works by eighty-four Moroccan poets writing in Arabic, French and Tamazight

     Writing Palestine  

• Award-winning poems of conversation and memory

• Texts by keynote speakers at the Palestine Book Awards



* * *


The translators of the issue are:

Dan Cern, Howard Cohen, Eran Edry, Zeena Faulk, Uri HoreshHana Morgenstern, Jonathan Wright and Ryan Zohar

For information about all contributors – authors, translators, reviewers, editors – to this issue and others, go to

* * *

* * *

* * *


Selections from this issue


Ya‘qub Balbul (Baghdad 1920 – Israel 2003) – The Revolt of Ignorance, a short story


Samir Naqqash – Shlomo the Kurd, Myself, and Time, continued


The Mani Brothers – Poems for the Incarcerated by Almog Behar


Ronny Someck – A poem by Ronny Someck – Studio Ronny


Haviva Pedaya – A Poem – The Light's Chrysalis


Ronny Someck – Exploring Ronny Someck by Almog Behar