Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

What is hatred?

I cannot hate. I tried it when I was younger and had been very hurt by husband’s family and again when someone had done me dirt and not once. The very word makes me cringe. I remember when  once we did a dance session and were split into two lines across from each other and one was love and chanted “Love, love, love” and the other “Hate, hate, hate” I was OK. with the love one, but very uncomfortable with expressing loudly, hate.

So when we look at the horrendous rioting and desecration of shops and stores by citizens in the country which they live and salute the flag, one can only feel immense sadness. One can almost smell the hatred even if we don’t see their eyes.

In England we had never seen dark-skinned people until the ’50s when the British left the Caribbean Islands, India and Pakistan and  those countries became Independent. There were those who preferred to take advantage of their British citizenship and emigrate to Britain for what they presumed would be a better life.

At our girls school during the World War II, there had been an Indian princess Chaya Battacharya in my class.  I remember that. However not withstanding there was always antisemitism we Jews felt it, but Chaya was the first coloured person we had seen.

In the 50’s too, a politician called Enoch Powell tried to stop the passing of a law that allowed for everyone with British nationality to come into the country. He did not succeed.

To understand what is going on now in the USA one has to remember that being a country comprised of 51 States each of whom has differing political agendas with freedom of decision making, there are no general rules which pertain to everyone. The social inter action of people in many areas is through their race and definitely through religion.

Apart from the famous Bible Belt of evangelists, many of those living  on social security, will invariably have a large banner outside their home saying “Jesus loves me” or similar. So, many of them could have voted for Trump.

Years ago the  Metuna- The Road Safety and Injury Prevention organisation of which I was Director, was invited to Washington to receive a prize  for outstanding results in our activities in Israel. The  Washington based organisation ASIRT whose Director was the wife of a prominent congressman, hosted us. It was only when we found out that in one of the States even though there existed a general advisory law that motor bikers should wear helmets, they were not forced to wear them because of the strength of the bikers lobby.The same applies today to the gun laws!

On our first evening in Washington DC. our Director Orna Klein and myself decided to go for a walk around town.  When we mentioned it, there was strong disapproval and the hosts stated that we were not under any circumstances to go to South Washington.

I stayed in  Tallahassee years later with the student daughters of my close friend, who were attending college there. I was told not to go out alone as in the French Quarter where they were living, we could be in danger. .Romantic as it sounds and it was obvious how it came to have that name, this area was totally inhabited by Afro- Americans whom we discovered were almost all, living on social security. Yet outside of almost every house was a banner proclaiming “Christ is the Lord” or “Jesus loves us.”

At that time Clinton was President. Now it is Trump.

So the present situation stems from hatred and it is a tragedy. The United States for we who lived in England was the symbol of Democracy.

“Government of the people by the people and for the people.”

Hatred is not mentioned!

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.