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

To say or to hide truth that could hurt us Israelis?

Is it smart, dumb or evil to point out that we may have morally failed while we are in a defensive war against people who want to murder our population (genocide)?

Yesterday, Israel discovered a Hamas attack tunnel under construction meant to kill Jews. They destroyed it. Many terrorists died or got wounded. (Not only from Israel blowing up the tunnel. As reported: Secondary explosions occurred within the tunnel due to the detonation of explosives that were stored there.) Any normal innocent person under attack would think: the more the better. It’s a human sentiment that comes up easily for people (or: a People) that fight/s for their lives.

But, upon reflection, these despicable terrorists are still more human than that they are potential murderers, at least in the eyes of the law. This is a hard jump to make. They may be completely loathsome, but they still have rights – though not a right to murder, mass murder or commit genocide.

It is rather classical Christianity that says that humans can be divided into two groups: normal or good versus evil. We Jews should operate on our own insight that all people are capable of and encouraged to choose good over evil – and when not, will need to face justice. Our responsibility as humans is not to eradicate “the evil ones” but rather to promote that no average person (anyone) should hurt anyone else.

Israeli Jews accusing Zionists is the daily method of Haaretz. Do we want to sit in their company? As mentioned, they manipulate and fabricate news just to make Israel look bad – especially in the eyes of its enemies.

We could say: but they lie, we say the truth – don’t put us in their corner. But we will be seen as traitors anyway if we charge Israel with murder.

Worse, we may see ourselves as traitors.

And lose friends over it.

Don’t we have enough enemies who indict us that we should also should blame ourselves?

But if we don’t speak up we may see ourselves as justifying murder.

And lose friends over that.

And for sure, our enemies will gladly misquote us to “prove” that Israeli Jews say themselves that they are immoral.

On the other hand, they will point their finger at us and misquote us in any case – could we make that worse? Whoever listens to them forfeits their right to sound information in any case.

The truth is that we should be moral in our own eyes, no matter what anyone else will say about it.

Yet, Israel is the victim in the Middle East, which is clear for anyone who knows the basics. Widely baselessly hated for being Jewish and maligned for baseless slander about it. Gazans are more victim of Chamas (a cult and junta of ordinary murderers and religious fanatics) and its policies (of muzzling and murdering its own population and only investing money and energy towards killing Jews) than of Israel’s self-defense. And one should not hassle victims, especially not during an assault, should we? Israel is continuous being harassed. We only live in daily peace because our the hard work of our security forces, army and prayers. So should we lay blame on Israel for faulty morality towards its murderous enemy?

But there are rules that restrict even dealing with villains. Even during war. These people at that moment in that tunnel posed no direct threat to anyone. Lying that they did won’t help our discussion. It doesn’t.

The IDF spokespeople themselves said: that tunnel was a grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty and was detonated from within Israel. Yet, the tunneling had progressed at least two kilometers away from the closest Israeli town and did not pose a threat to its residents. No Israelis were endangered by it.

No doubt that last sentence was to brag about our military success and to reassure the local population, but we should not suspect it to be a lie. Well, if that is the truth, Israel killed and wounded terrorists who did not pose a direct threat. In Israeli Law that is murder. No nuance about it.

Why then were these tunnel builders not warned before we blew up the work of these diggers? The IDF has the finest moral code of any army in the world – check it out. Violation leads to prosecution.

Perhaps because these terrorists were trying to hurt our population (which even during war is a war crime)? That is no excuse to hurt them as they posed no acute threat. (Chamas’ claim that they wanted to hurt Israeli soldiers is irrelevant, immaterial and illogical. They can kidnap civilians as bargaining chip as well and they won’t be as suitably trained in warfare. They starve and oppress their own population. Then how much respect for enemy civilians may be expected?!)

Maybe because people crazed about mass murdering Jews have no right to live? But they do. They must be stopped. And by murder, only if there is no other way.

The army has declared in a reaction that they did not try to kill anyone, only to blow up the tunnel.

That is humbug. “We did not intent to kill anyone, only to blow up …” – you warn that you’re about to detonate something. This denial is tunnel vision (pun intended, with my excuses to those with this medical condition) at best but falsehood more likely. How convenient if diggers at work would die in the destruction, wouldn’t it be?

But maybe we should say: We had no option to bring them to justice. Every terrorist killed now is one less to fight in the future.

That seems true to me. The choice was not between killing them and having them been brought to justice and put in jail. The choice was between killing them or having them escape to be dangerous some more. Escaping terrorists may be killed.

Still, wouldn’t it be better to not kill them and then brag about how that shows how humane Israel is (it is). That could even win hearts.

Also: Our problem is not with the number of terrorists who fight us from Gaza. A few more or less don’t bother us.

Killing them also does not work as a deterrent. Many have died while constructing Chamas tunnels. By now, most of these diggers are forced.

On the other hand, after the Israeli explosion, terrorist leaders rushed in to save what could be saved and died in secondary explosions – from their own stored ammunition. That seems not so bad.

And letting them all escape alive does send a bad message, that one can work on these tunnels with impunity. Win-win for the terrorists: if you succeed you get to kill innocent civilians (Jews) and if you don’t, you go home, drink tea and try again tomorrow.

However, the vast majority of Israelis doesn’t want anyone to die. Not anyone at all. Not even by conviction. But we will also not permit people to make Jews live in fear and mortal danger.

Still, I will distance myself from those who are against killing terrorists to “stop the cycle of violence.” It’s people who try to murder Jews, but love to give excuses like “they killed us first” but who would try to kill us anyway, versus people who have the chutzpah to defend Jews against terrorists. There is no tit for tat. And no Israeli revenge either. (Labeling Israeli deterrence “revenge” is such a vile anti-Jewish remark going back to classical anti-Judaic claims as if Jews have a God of Revenge, while Christians a God of Love – to which all Jews can testify, I say in irony.)

Yet, I find even a hint of revenge undesirable, just perpetuating hatred.

Nevertheless, I would have warned them. That would not form any provable risk for us. But it might give us a grateful Gazan willing to become a spy for us, saving lives and helping uproot the Chamas junta.

To say or to hide truth that could hurt us Israelis? As you can see above, I would say it. It shows that we are human and may even show some of our honesty and holiness. And, that becoming public will not hurt us.

Fun to write a piece everyone may disagree with. Me included.

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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