Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The truth lies in the middle, trampled by the fighting parties

What would Israeli politics look like with less polarization?

Israel has a multi-party political system, but basically it’s still a two-party system because most of the time, it’s the left against the right. (In Israel left and right are not determined by financial beliefs; rather, it is the belief that Jews are nothing special versus that they are). Within the right and within the left there is plenty of infighting, but still, the big debates are between the left and the right.

Two parties, one for and one against, they make political debate simple.

However, this arrangement also produce undesired side-effects:

  • Lack of nuances in the positions
  • Difficulty to understand the other side
  • Inability to integrate ideas from both sides
  • Lying and cheating, just in order not to lose
  • Winning becomes more important than being right
  • Making politics unattractive because most people hate fighting.

Often, civil servants work hard to help the government defend its positions. Instead, they could try to find the best ideas anywhere from anyone to suggest to the administration.

Much energy gets lost in finding fault with opponents and painting them as inferior or enemies. Instead, the focus could be on finding what’s good in the others’ positions.

Media attention is often used for each party to promote its position. Instead, each party could try to explain the strong points of the other party. Just imagine journalists always asking: In what respect do your opponent’s ideas make sense to you or seem desirable?

How could we increase intelligence and truth and diminish needless strife and exaggerated polarization in politics? How about having more working class, women, gays and of course lesbian women, handicapped, people of color and therapists in politics? People who know how to listen and to be a bit humble at times.

N.B.: Seeing both sides of the coin does not mean: being wishy-washy, taking no firm positions or being unresolved or dispassionate all the time.

May I conclude with one piece of common political wisdom that as teenager I picked up in The Netherlands? I had to learn as part of the national curriculum that democracy means: “The majority decides while taking minorities into account.” The popular Israeli idea “Democracy is: the majority decides” simply doesn’t work – for anyone.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), 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 vegan for 8 years now. 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 lehavdiel 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, 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, GLBTQAI, 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 quit 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 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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