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

Please, don’t swap me for anyone

If you think that’s an easy statement to proclaim, try it. It’s not easy.

But what’s the alternative? As the Sages rhetorically ask: Is your blood redder than anyone else’s? (They weren’t referring to anemics.)

I won’t say I’m a hero. I’m not looking forward to being kidnapped. I know that if I’d survive it and am kept hostage, my prayers will improve. But I hope that G^d will be pleased enough with what I can do as a free man.

I know that my kids would suffer tremendously if I were to be captured and held prisoner by a gang of murderers. But they’d also understand that it’s my life and I have to live with myself afterward. And they will know that I will never die unless against my will and won’t agree to die, period.

But, I’m not going to break into prison to free a bunch of un-repented Jew-hating convicted murderers, also not under duress.

If I can’t be freed in my own merit, so be it. Maybe bomb the capturers to smithereens. If I die in the bombardment, know, that in their hands, I was as good as dead anyway. And that way, their friends might learn that the only price for kidnapping an Israeli Jew is death.

With all the good we try to do in our lives, sometimes only our martyrdom will give us wings (pardon the pun). Don’t get me wrong. I’ll do almost anything to not die, even a martyr. But if it would happen, I can tell you, there are worse ways to die. (Maybe then, I’ll finally get the readership I wanted all my life.)

Jonathan Pollard always refused to be swapped for anyone. Good for him!

I don’t judge others who’d happily (or unhappily) agree to be swapped. Or those who seek this for captured loved ones. I’m not judging them. We each need to decide for ourselves. But I say: not even over my dead body.

Talking of which. There is no greater honor or burial for a Jew than your body held hostage by antisemites. Right under the L^rd’s Wings.

We can always use another heroic Jew in our history books. And let the world know what we Jews really are about.


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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