January 17, 2021

SAY NOTHING: Living in Jerusalem made me understand the history of my home, Northern Ireland

Ruth Foster, a daughter of a protestant father and a Catholic Irish mother, studies Hebrew at Harvard university, after having spent time in East and West Jerusalem, an experience which taught her about her unspoken about history in Northern Ireland.

In our conversation, we have explored:

  • Why are Israeli and Palestinian flags flown in Northern Ireland, even today? Why is this happening?
  • Do protestants wave the Israeli flag because “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, or does the mentality of being under a siege have something to do with it?
  • What common ground did the Zionist Jews and the Irish share in the beginning of the 20th century? Why have Irish Republicans sided with the Palestinian side?
  • Is the conflict in Northern Ireland mostly a religious conflict or rather an outcome of British colonisation and division?
  • How is the culture of ‘say nothing’ affect people’s mental health in Northern Ireland today?
  • What are the dividing lines between sacred and profane in modern Hebrew?
  • And lastly, what could the Irish language potentially learn from modern Hebrew?


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