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The Haifa student who waved the Israeli flag at the graduation ceremony in Berkeley: "I am in hell on earth"

Or Ha'Meiri, 27 years old, a resident of Haifa, found himself as an ambassador on his own behalf at the University of Berkeley in California, where he studied until the last days (May 2024). This week (12-17.5.24) he went up to receive his graduation certificate from the School of Business Administration with the Israeli flag, and received many boos, which still did not prevent him from feeling that he did the right thing.

Light at the demonstration for the return of the abducted (photo: private album)
Light at the demonstration for the return of the abducted (photo: private album)

Demonstration in Berkeley ► Watch

What has changed in your opinion since the seven in October?

"I am a proud Zionist and have been all my life. Since October 7th I have felt 'it's either fall or get up and run'. From the moment the war broke out, I decided to become an activist on campus and walk with my head held high. I want to show that we are not afraid.

There are Jews on campus, but there are almost no Israelis here. I hold demonstrations with Jewish friends who study with me, and with older Israelis who live here. I decided to go into it with all my might and help as much as I could. I gave lectures to Palestinians or Israelis in synagogues, churches and halls. I also participated in debates. They fight in Israel, and I fight from here. I would enter demonstrations with the Israeli flag, shouting at them. There isn't a single pro-Palestinian here who doesn't know me."

Gilad Erdan and Or Ha'Meiri (photo: private album)
Gilad Erdan and Or Ha'Meiri (photo: private album)

How did you get to the meeting with Shirir Israel at the Gilad Erdan UN?

"I decided that I wanted to promote my activity, so I talked to Jewish and Israeli bodies, with the aim of reaching the highest positions. That's how I got to a meeting at the office of Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan. The meeting was on my spring break in March (2024). I wanted to explain to the ambassador what is happening on campus and what I feel here.

My goal in the whole story is for people to understand that the Israeli propaganda fails to clarify our position as it should. The general population here in the US that supports the Palestinians, they are the first that Hamas would slaughter, and they don't understand it. I wanted to explain it to Gilad Erdan and that was the purpose of the meeting."

"We met at the embassy offices in New York. Gilad Erdan is an amazing, humble person who speaks at eye level. He really wanted to hear my opinion. He wanted to hear about the situation, was happy to hear about my activities on campus, and I wanted to see what he and his employees were going to do. He agreed with me that Israeli advocacy is not at its best and that there is a lot of work to be done. He said that he would like to transfer larger budgets to advocacy, but it is not under his control."

"At the end of the meeting, he said he would stay in touch. The conversation with him, his pleasantness and motivation, gave me the strength to do more. When such a senior person tells me to continue what I'm doing, it gives me more strength to continue and do."

Israelis protest ► Watch

Can you describe what you go through on campus?

"It's hard to describe the hatred I receive. Even when I'm just passing through campus, people see me and spit. They curse me, attack me. The atmosphere here is very difficult. It just doesn't make sense, that something like this happens."

Or in front of a pro-Palestinian demonstration (photo: private album)
Or in front of a pro-Palestinian demonstration (photo: private album)

When you started your activity on campus, weren't you afraid that your studies might be affected?

"When the war broke out, I was depressed and had to steer my feelings to where it was. Over time, I got such hatred on campus that I didn't care if I was kicked out of school.

A month after October 7th, we went to hang signs about the abductees on campus - we hung over 500 signs. We hung the signs with very strong glue. The police caught me and I was charged with vandalism. When this happened, a Jewish attorney contacted me and said he wanted to represent me for free. It ended and the charges against me were dropped. There were cases of violence in which I was involved, when I had to protect the Jews who were with me. I was afraid that I would be thrown out of the university, but the desire to represent the The state was stronger than anything."

The song of hope at the demonstration ► Watch

Did you not come across any manifestations of anti-Semitism before the war broke out?

"Even before October 7, everyone knew I was Israeli. When I arrived at the university, I was categorized as Israeli, because there are no Israelis here in the Faculty of Business Administration. Everyone is labeled according to what characterizes him. From the moment I entered the classroom for the first few times, I started getting to know people, introducing myself and making connections. After October 7, you realize that people, with whom you were in contact, even if the relationship is not serious, do not want to say hello. They are simply anxious that someone will see that they spoke to an Israeli."

Raising the Israeli flag in Berkeley ► Watch

What happened at graduation?

"Graduation was a very emotional moment. I wasn't as excited about graduation as I was about holding the Israeli flag. There were two ceremonies. There was a big ceremony of the school, which was a whole Teddy stand with Palestinian flags. I'm sitting in the crowd, and next to people with the Palestinian flag and me With the Israeli flag, luckily, I'm a big guy, so even if they want to say something to me, they don't always say it."

"I study in a very exclusive program of the business school. I knew that when the business school ceremony was held, there would be much fewer students and my flag waving would be much more significant. Indeed, at this ceremony several people came up with the Palestinian flag. I was booed when I went up to receive the The certificate with the Israeli flag was very significant for me and nothing would make me give it up."

Were you not afraid of the violence that was directed towards you?

I am not afraid of anything. At the same time, we were faced with some violent incidents here. We teamed up with the Hillel and Chabad associations, and brought a speaker to speak on campus. We rented an auditorium from the university, a square space surrounded by glass walls. We were about 30-40 Jews there, and outside there were 400 pro-Palestinians.

You have to understand that because these events are so violent, some people are afraid to attend. Enter the room, and you feel like a monkey. Pro-Palestinians knock on the glass walls, shout, throw food.

Two Jews I know are standing outside the door, in the midst of the Palestinian crowd. They asked that we open the door for them, so that they could enter the hall and be with us. When I opened the door for them, the whole crowd came inside. From the other side of the hall, they broke a window with a stone and started entering through the window as well. I stand there in the hall with two other girls and try to protect them and me. The amount of people who attacked me was crazy. I stand there, getting punched and giving punches. In the end, there was no choice but to evacuate us through an underground parking lot."

Aren't you disappointed with the campus administration?

"Of course, disappointed and ashamed at the same time. I'm currently in Berkeley. There are still endless tents and signs on campus. I've thought a lot about whether I belong here. But I believe that if I leave the place, I'm letting them win. I'm sorry that I'm the one who has to deal with all the hate and violence This one, and at the same time it's me. It shows the true face of Israelis. I'm in hell on earth right now, but I have another chapter to finish in the US."

Do you think that we in Israel understand what is happening in the US?

"I follow the news in Israel and see what you see. You don't understand at all what is happening here on campus. What I am telling you is on the edge of a fork and should be multiplied by 100. When I lived in Israel it seemed so far away to me. It happens all the time and it is a thing Not caught. Berkeley is the number 1 public university in the US and Jews avoid coming here because of anti-Semitism, which is unbelievable."

Is antisemitism everywhere?

"It's everywhere. I went to Los Angeles to visit friends, I walk down the main avenue of Santa Monica - a demonstration, San Diego - the same. I went to Puerto Rico, an island far from everywhere, and there are demonstrations there. I came as a tourist and saw it."

Contact Chai here: At watsapBy email

Michal Grover
Michal Grover
Michal Grover Education reporter • Real estate • Company Contact: 054-4423911 Mail to the container: [email protected]

Articles related to this topic

108 תגובות

  1. Berkeley is the bastion of the righteous, the beautiful of the soul, the anti-Semites. Needless to say, they have no idea about the reality here.
    The protesters at Columbia University and MIT are a little different (according to a New York acquaintance). They are not the serious students, who really come to study and acquire an education that will open doors. They are basically hot-headed idiots who are easy to incite on social media and will protest against anything in fashion.

  2. Or, I wish you to continue what you started at the university, this is a very important thing, and I believe it is the only way to influence public opinion in the US and the world in general...

  3. light you are king
    It is a shame that in Israel there are Jews who hurt the relatives of the abductees and tear their hearts down with signs.

  4. Whoever believes is not afraid. Light is the light of the people of Israel and the light of its parents, what a proud guy, take care of yourself child and God will protect you Amen

  5. Super cannon.
    Your Highness is the Jew we want to see, a Jew who is proud of his Judaism, his country and his country.
    True Haifa pride.

  6. Or you are a king🤴
    Makes kiddush shimmy❣️
    I bless you for sending with supreme powers and nobility of soul. May you succeed in all your desires 🙏 You are proud of the people❣️

  7. Go up to the country quickly before it becomes impossible, there is nothing to fight on in the sand except the pot of meat

    • It's not exactly a dark campus. It is a university that also attracts righteous and liberals in their own eyes who will rejoice against everything that they see as unjust in their narrow world view.

  8. well done. Very proud of you!!!
    I am moved by people like you who stand up for themselves and defend the State of Israel, despite the risk involved. And let them multiply like you!!!❤️🙏

  9. The demonstrations will end with the war. When there is a war, the vocal minority that consists mainly of refugees from third world countries and useful idiots from the Palestinian currents, all the idiots crowd together to make it look like a mob representing an entire nation. Of course this is not the case. Almost all of the US is pro-Israeli, they simply don't have the tools to deal with the Arabs. They will eventually wake up there too.

  10. Israeli advocacy will never succeed. No one there wants to listen, all the professors were brought to the universities first of all because they support the Palestinians, the Qataris pay them a lot of money....

  11. Or, my dear son, I am proud of you and the way you chose to represent the country with determination and without fear in the face of our haters and enemies. You were there an Israeli Jew fighting alone against the whole world. This is the only way they will understand that in Israel we are not afraid and we are fighting for our existence. Take care of yourself and good luck in everything you do.

  12. Wow, a huge breath, give you light, as your name is, you spread the light of the Jews and in their name, so young in age and so huge in deeds.
    I wish you had more like you to join you. What a huge mitzvah, you felt it very much.

  13. We love you very much ❤️ 🇮🇱👑 good luck
    We are religious Jewish Zionists who love the State of Israel and wish to settle Gaza in Israel
    All the best to you for the information. Cheers
    The nation of Israel lives and exists forever until 🇮🇱
    We have no other country

  14. Israeli pride. A hero just like our heroes in uniform. Fighting hatred with the most powerful weapon in the world, love, the love of the Jewish people and their country. God will preserve you 🙏❤️

  15. It's a shame that you are alone in the battle, and there are no other people with a moral backbone like you.
    In my opinion, retire while you can, at the end of the day they will try to eliminate you, that's how Arabs are, they hate Jews because of the "firstborn" "Yaakov and Esau", don't be a dead hero no one will remember you, it's better to stay alive with values ​​and tricks.

  16. When I studied at LSC in London in the 60s of the last century. A meeting with Arab students from all Arab countries neighboring our country,
    It was an interesting experience...
    Everyone wanted to know about the other's life and impressions in his country, there was no hostility, no friendship either. Today the hostility to Israel and the Jews dominates the whole world and it is our duty to show strength as demonstrated by the brave Israeli Haifa student!!!
    This is true citizenship and art
    Contempt for academia in the US that does not denounce the demonstrations against the Jews and the Israelis
    Contempt for the heads of these institutions who at all approve such political demonstrations in their field! The authorization for politicized demonstrations stems from a misinterpretation, a wrong distortion of academic freedom - while the real motive for authorizing these demonstrations stems from the large financial donations that go to these academic institutions from the established Arab countries that actually support the salaries of all the lecturers in all the faculties = academics who eat for free from the pleasure-seekers!
    That's why it would be better for every student to study in Israel and excel in his signature after his studies only here in our good country 👌🙏🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱 All the academic institutions in Israel are very good and therefore there is no relative advantage to studying abroad except in the field of media that are not advanced enough in our country the good

  17. We need to make order at the University of Haifa, expel the Arabs to Sakhnin, they will study there, here, a Jewish state, who is not good, not Yom Tov

  18. Light they inhaled.
    You are an example and I wish there would be more like you.
    This is what is said about the salt of the earth.

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