As I’ve mentioned before, I think our half-yearly elections are great fun. But, part of the pleasure is how jolly my election station is.
From my home, it’s a 15-minute walk uphill. Walking there, I feel like on my way to a birthday party, and when I arrive, that’s the atmosphere I find.
Yesterday, I walked my uphill battle to encounter two ladies coming down, with the younger, in her 20s, wearing an oversized Mini Mouse pullover. ‘Mini didn’t vote for the cats, I hope,’ I told them. The ladies looked bewildered. Israelis don’t remember what slogans or pictures are on the clothes they put on in the morning. Let alone that they realize what day it is. I walk on. It gets far less fun(ny) when you have to explain a joke.
At the gate, I thank the guard for his work. It must be so boring, thank G^d.
Other voting rooms have waiting lines, but mine never does.
I’m always greeted by a group of eager, happy-looking poll attendants. This time, there was also a poll watcher of, I guess, not older than 10.
As every time, I thank them for the hearty mood and reception.
‘We are simply the best,’ says the head of the board while the others nod.
I hand them my ID, the head of the room calls my number, the one next to him says my name, they cross out my line, and the former puts the picture next to my head and compares. I ask: ‘Does it look anything like me?’
They keep my ID, give me a signed envelope, and gesture me to the booth.
But first, I reassure them that I’ll pick a slip from the stack that’s the highest because ‘otherwise it’s not fair.’ But, once I get there, and look for and find the specific piece I want, I call out: ‘I’ve got it!’ The booth walls are as high as my nipples; I live in a country of dwarfs. They could have seen from which direction I took the note, but no one cares.
I put the piece in the envelope. I check 5 times if it’s not a fake, not double, not damaged, and really the one I want, and stick the envelope closed.
Now I walk slowly and dramatically toward the ballot box.
‘Where are cameras?’ ‘There,’ points the poll watcher. ‘Which TV station?’
Carefully and theatrically, I lower the envelope through the slit. The watcher applauds.
My ID returns, and I joyfully say to the committee: ‘See you in half a year.’
On my way out, I notice a guy of about 25 years entering, pushing a baby carriage. ‘Forget it,’ I prepare him for the shock. ‘She’ll be too little to vote.’
Pleased, I leave the station after greeting the guard. How many people can say that they did something easy, for free, and constructive in one minute that will make world news the next day?
It’s also nice to know that my party won, also thanks to me. All Israeli voters feel like that. And if it lost anyway, at least, it won’t be my fault.
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: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M *
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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. *
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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1