Dr. Dhafer Fuad Eliyahu, reportedly one of the last three Jews remaining in Iraq, passed away at the age of 62 on Monday, according to Iraqi media.
The orthopedic doctor, who worked at the Al Wasiti Teaching Hospital, passed away due to a stroke, according to a Facebook post by the hospital.
نعت الأوساط الطبية والأكاديمية في بغداد أحد أشهر الأطباء العراقيين الدكتور ظافر فؤاد الياهـو ، وهو من أصول طائفـة الديانة اليهودية في العراق، وقد وافاه الأجل إثـر أزمة قلبية.: مواقع التواصل pic.twitter.com/NrthHEiMq5— IrfaaSawtak ارفع صوتك (@IrfaaSawtak) March 16, 2021
Eliyahu refused a number of offers to emigrate from Iraq over the years, according to Iraqi politician Faiq Al Sheikh Ali, who referred to Eliyahu as "the doctor of the poor."
According to the Iraqi Al-Hurra news, only two Jews are left in Iraq now, Eliyahu's sister and her husband. The two do not have any children and are middle-aged, a colleague of Eliyahu's told Al-Hurra.
"He did not deal with fear or suspicion, or in any way other than pure love for everyone. This is why everyone loved him," the colleague told Al-Hurra.
Another colleague stated that Eliyahu's sister tried to find him a wife but he refused to marry, adding that he "was an example of humanity and humility." The colleague stressed that he treated all of his patients with a smile, even those who did not accept treatment from him after finding out he was Jewish – although such people were "a very rare few" as he was well loved, according to Al-Hurra.
A patient named Abu Muhammad told Al-Hurra that Eliyahu did not refer patients to his private clinic to earn more money, nor to expensive private wards, but instead provided full and dedicated treatment for free.
Social media users eulogized Eliyahu as kind and resilient, with many referring to him as the "doctor of the poor."
Eliyahu was buried in the Al-Habibiyah Jewish Cemetery in Baghdad. The cemetery was established during the early 20th century, with a number of Jewish nobles buried there, according to the Jewish Cultural Heritage Initiative.
Most of Iraq's Jews fled the country after violent riots, known as the Farhud, targeted Jewish citizens in 1941, killing as many as 180 and injuring hundreds. By 1951, about 124,000 out of the 135,000 Jews in the country had immigrated to Israel; those who remained suffered persecution for decades.