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

Is International Agunah Day, the fast day of Esther, today, a selfish affair?

LGBTQ-oppression is neglected even more than sexism

Recent new Israeli rabbinic legislation led to eighty women being freed from their status of a ‘chained’ woman, agunah. Israeli rabbinical courts can now impose sanctions on divorce (get) refusers from abroad if they visit Israel. Also, dozens of men granted divorces because they didn’t want to have the risk that one day, they’d be unable to enter the Jewish State.

This concerns well-over 200 wives. Some of these women waited for decades. Two major problems are that the man must give the divorce from his own free will, and even with minimal doubt about that, further children of such a woman could receive the severe Jewish status of mamzer which seriously limits their options of marriage and inherent to their offspring.

That, also in Israel, reform is still needed was painfully illustrated by the severe agunah case of Shire Isakov. After her husband tried to kill her, whereby she was severely injured, after extensive surgeries, rehabilitation, and with deep physical and emotional scars, she chose to tell her story to open the eyes of other women. He then refused to divorce her. Days of intense public shaming and rabbinic pressure made him give in eventually.

A prenuptial agreement that is in sync with Jewish Law (there are several to choose from) would prevent these cruel hostage-takings. It’s often the over-selfish man who picks a naive woman and convinces her that they don’t need a prenup. (Even if he’s sweet as a lamb, they should have one, to show others that this can’t be skipped.) Rabbis should not perform weddings without a prenuptial agreement. Never enter a home without one.

Anti-LGBTQ Violence in Israel is Alive and Kicking

Always moving to see men stand up for women trapped in a marriage. Until you notice that they won’t lift a finger to help lesbians, gay men, and trans people who are trapped outside of marriage and can’t even dream of a kosher wedding ever. The very exceptional (a few hundred) chained women have their attention while a million (!) not-Straight Jews trapped outside of marriage get the “drop dead but I feel for you” treatment.

So-called empathy for suffering the rabbis create and refuse to correct. It’s the old story all over again, men trying to make a good impression on women. That’s not being an ally. That’s rather continuing to being a bigot.

It’s like someone who keeps Shabbat but not the Holidays when they fall on weekdays. From that, you see that they also don’t really keep Shabbat. They just enjoy a work-less weekend.

And, it’s not the only instance of some attention to oppressed women but total neglect of the LGBTQ in Israel. During a lockdown, hate crimes against women spiked. Thankfully, it’s exposed, protested, and debated. But, also anti-LGBTQ violence spiked. But no one seemed to give a hood. No mass demonstrations. No debates. Even no reporting by the English Israeli press, except — as always — by the Jerusalem Post, and this time also: Haaretz. Where are the Times of Israel (editors or bloggers), Arutz7, the Algemeiner, Ynetnews, and some others, obviously absent?

They all are supposedly for democracy, fundamental equality and equal rights to all people. Silence is complicity and their democracy is just self-serving, reserved for people passing as normal as them. You’re not a democrat if you only have tolerance for people who are like you.

Some half a million Israelis are LGBTQ. What’s the last time we heard that anyone cared? And, compared to the rest of the world, the situation in Israel is even good. This scandal reminds me of the racism in the US 60 years ago. There were some protests, and the severity of the bigotry varied from place to place and community to community. And no equality — that promise of democracy — or safety — that promise of a just lawful society.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 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. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), 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), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating 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. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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