AMIR, ELI (1937– ), Israeli novelist. Amir was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and came to Israel in 1950. He was sent to study at a kibbutz. His career began as a messenger in the Prime Minister's Office, and he worked his way up to Arab affairs advisor to the prime minister. Later he became director of the Youth Immigration Division of the Jewish Agency. He won the Yigal Allon prize for outstanding pioneering service to Israeli society. His first novel, Tarnegol Kaparot ("Scapegoat," 1987), is a semi-autobiographical novel depicting the integration of an Iraqi Jewish youth in an Israeli transit camp shortly after 1948. This novel is included in Israel's secondary school syllabus. Other novels by Amir are Mafri'aḥ ha-Yonim (1992; "Farewell Baghdad," Ger., 1998), Ahavat Sha'ul ("Saul's Love," 1998), and Yasmin (2005).
A. Zehavi, in: Yedioth Ahronoth, Feb. 3, 1984; N. Berg, "Sifrut Ma'abarah: Literature of Transition," in: K.W. Avruch (ed.), Critical Essays on Israeli Society, Religion and Government (1997), 187–207; R. Snir, "Ha-Ẓiyyonut bi-Re'i ha-Sifrut ha-Yafah ha-Aravit ve-ha-Ivrit shel Yehudei Irak," in: Peʿamim, 73 (1998), 128–46; Y. Manzur, "He'arot Lashon: E. Amir," in: Leshonenu la-Am, 50:2 (1999), 80–92.
[Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]