Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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 save Israel’s coronavirus-hit tourism sector?

The more tourists from abroad return to the Holy Land and the more people we let in at land crossings, the more corona infections we will get from outside. Those are not second waves. Those are first waves. Until there is a vaccine, hopefully within a year, we need to hope for our tourism industry to revive from other sources.

A trickling influx is not going to cut it. Tourism is a large part of Israel’s economy. Our former mayor made it one of Jerusalem’s main sources of income and progress.

The simplest, most elegant, most Zionist, most economical, and logical solution is Israelis massively taking a hike in our own country.

That would solve two problems. It would bring back the tourists. And Israelis then don’t need to risk being infected abroad in countries that frankly don’t have the record, understanding, or medical care to beat the epidemic.

It would also make that less Israeli money is spent outside of Israel.

For most of Israel’s existence, Israelis have had claustrophobia. Surrounded by enemy countries, we felt trapped. So the greatest vacation was to fly away to far away.

Recent exceptions were that Israelis could visit Petra in occupied Jordan, visit the Sinai occupied by Egypt, at their own risk, and go to Turkey. On top of hostilities from their leaders and/or populations against Jews, we now have there also the coronavirus risk.

But let’s face it. So many Israelis have never (and I mean never) been in our capital. They may only know Me’ah She’arim from TV. They have no idea what the Old City looks like. The Knesset, the High Court of Justice building, the Shuk.

How many Israelis have spent any serious time in Eilat, which has both endless beaches (included one-gender beaches) and synagogues?

How many Israeli have visited Beit She’an, Tiberius, and the Golan? How can their histories mean anything to you if you have never been there?

How many Israeli have seen our coast? They live in the hinterland and that’s it.

How many city dwellers have been in a kibbutz lately or ever?

How many Israeli tourists have crossed the Green Line?

How many Jews have been to Arab settlements and vice-versa?

The government should start a massive advertisement campaign for local tourism. Long-travel bus fares should be drastically slashed. Like: return within a month for free. Much of the tourism material should be translated into Hebrew.

Maybe to have the idea gain popularity, we’d have some people scream that such is scandalous, petition the High Court against it, have the State Controller ask questions, have a loud Knesset debate against it, and have the UN and Europe protest the plan. And an Airbnb boom.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. 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 what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, 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 when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) 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 - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), 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. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers 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. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * 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. When he can, 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, for Zionism, Intersectionality, 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. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his 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, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * 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, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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 a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors 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.
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