Scapegoat is considered one of the most successful novels about the integration of children who arrived in Israel from the Arab countries shortly after the establishment of the state. Based on the author`s own life, it describes the 1950s when, in a very short time, Israel experienced a mass immigration of Jews from all over the world. Immigrants from the Arab countries were housed in transit camps, and forced to work at makeshift jobs as well as coping with a completely new socio-cultural reality. Some sent their children to be educated in kibbutzim, which were considered the ultimate Israel. In the book, Nuri, aged 13, immigrates with his family from Iraq and is sent, together with other boys and girls like him, to a flourishing kibbutz fired by socialist ideals. The encounter is traumatic and generates a conflict between two worlds as well as major problems of identity and adaptation. Yet Amir describes the integration of these youngsters without bitterness, and even with a pinch of humor, as he attempts to bridge the gap between East and West.
The book`s various chapters follow Nuri`s experiences as he gradually becomes the group`s dominant figure, and describe the lives of the other youngsters, who respond to the new reality each in his or her own way. One boy cannot get over the humiliation experienced by his father - in Baghdad this man was a respected lawyer while in Israel he barely makes a living, and the boy swears he will never forgive his adoptive country. Nili, a girl the others call "Nili Shorts," quickly sheds most of the characteristics connecting her to the world she grew up in and longs to be like her peers, the down-to-earth kibbutz girls. Nuri is torn between his old world and the charms of the new. He identifies with the ideals of manual labor, social equality and justice, but although he longs to be part of Israeli society, he does not want to become estranged from his family and the culture that bred him. He dreams of a social, cultural, and even personal synthesis in his own life.
|Author’s Last Name|| ||Amir|
|Author's First Name|| ||Eli|
|Language(s)|| ||English, German, Italian, Azeri (Azerbaijan), Macedonian, Russian, Turkish|
|Publisher (Hebrew)|| ||Am Oved|
|Year of Publication (Hebrew)|| ||1983|
|Publisher 2 (Hebrew)|| ||Am Oved/ Yedioth Ahronoth|
|Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew)|| ||2010|
|No. Pages|| ||203 pp.|
|Book title - Hebrew (phonetic)|| ||Tarnegol Kaparot|
|Representation|| ||Represented by ITHL|