Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

How to end religious domination in Israeli politics

The Dutch, a few decades ago, did the impossible. A government was formed from the left and the right, the socialist and the capitalist, excluding the (Christian) religious parties. Until then, the latter had full control. Whatever government would be formed, they were in it. But with this move across the aisle, their hegemony was broken. (Eventually, they rejoined the political conversation and now regularly are part of coalitions but not anymore with special veto power.) Also, presently, in Hungary, strange bedfellows joined each other. How was this done?

I don’t know but it’s clear to me how to do this in Israel. It’s not difficult.

Until now, the system in Israel was that religious and secular parties would form a government that would respect and maintain the religious status quo. All the rest was open to negotiations. That’s how Israelis de facto lived under a continuous religious dictatorship. Because we all got used to the default situation, not many people objected.

What needs to happen next is the opposite. The right and the left should form a coalition that would respect and maintain the financial and security status quo (delaying the minimum wage going to $ 10, delaying annexation, delaying Trump’s Peace Plan, delaying another Gaza War). All the rest then would be open to give and take. That’s how the left and the right can sit in one coalition.

There would be no great change from the present wealth and safety policies but concerning ethical issues, anything would go that has consensus between the secular left and the secular right.

A few examples: An absolute majority of all Israelis want to institute ‘Gay marriage.’ It’s high time it can. Religious coercion is not part of Judaism at all. It’s high time the state rabbis lose their worldly power.

Then the religious on equal footing will need to join the conversation and explain what we like about Judaism. They will systematically learn from the secular (how to be a Mentch) and the other way around (how to be a Jew). That’ll heal a major rift in our People, more Jews will start to take Judaism more seriously, and less of our youths will need turn to secularism.

When left and right will build a coalition, all the extreme parties on the left and on the right will not take part. Also from the more moderate parties, some more extremist people will bolt. But from the extremist parties, some more moderate people will join the new government.

Last but not least, one should ask why the left would be interested to sit in a broad ‘unity’ secular government that plans (in its view) no improvements in the economic and security situation. I tell you. When the voters see how well the left got rid of religious domination, many more votes will go to the left in next elections. And then they’ll have more power to implement economic and security reforms.

When I first explained that the elections didn’t show a victory for the Likud but rather meant that the electorate wanted a broad center coalition, not many talked about that yet. Since, I have claimed that there will be such a coalition with or without Bibi at the helm, depending if he agrees to one before the elections or only after them. (Do his political opponents already believe their own wishful slander that Bibi is guilty before even a hearing before potential court cases?) But whatever the case will be, it’s not that a center government is one of the options. It’s the only alternative. The voters will have said it twice and are ready to say it three times in a row. Finally, voters are winning, not parties.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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