We only need to stay alert to stop the tyranny’s second and last chance
Yesterday was very memorable. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Jerusalem while similar was going on in Tel Aviv. If Bibi would not halt the judiciary overhaul immediately, the country today would have come to a complete hold with the airport and seaport closed, every school from kindergarten to university close, a general labor strike as broad and heavy as never before, hospitals and courts only functioning for emergencies, stores and malls closed, etc. Try to go to work when the kids are home.
The weather was great, a bit on the warm side. Someone sold small bottles of ‘democracy water.’ I asked him what my water was that I brought from home. ‘Oh, that’s the rabbi’s water,’ he replied without missing a beat.
The general mood was excellent. Mostly gone were anger, disgust, worry, and despair, replaced by hope and confidence, relief and calm, and feelings of happiness and jolliness. Many up-beat songs were sung. There was ‘My democracy has three institutions’ on what everyone knows who went through Israeli kindergarten as: My hat has three corners. Also: ‘You try to change society, but run into a wrong generation for that.’
One of the demonstrators told me he was a refusenik from the IDF reserves. He didn’t have a decent night of sleep for weeks as he travels every day to several demonstrations all over the country. He told me that the establishment had been pressuring his parents (he was in his thirties!) to get him to stop. ‘Who does this, except for the mafia,’ he aptly asserted. ‘I’m not scared, and I won’t stop.’ Such fine people we have.
Humor was never far away. The number of our Chareidic demonstrators doubled: I saw another Chareidic. The pathetic (10% of our demo) and violent counter-demonstration would be after nightfall. Amusingly to me, those protestors also scanted: ‘Do-mo-cra-tia!’ and also, carried blue-and-white flags, only fewer because many were anti-Zionistic. And no rainbow flags. And few smiles. Anger, over-seriousness, hatred, and worry wrinkled their faces. The soccer club Beitar fans, known for their support for Bibi and racism, almost seemed happy but more drunk than anything. In Betzalel Street, they walked down while we walked up on the opposite side of the street. I began to climb the road on the other side encouraging them: ‘Be optimistic.’ Not because I approved of their silly cause, but when people are happy, they can’t hate. At the bus stop, waiting for a bus home for 45 minutes (the route toward the demo had lasted over 2 hours, slower than walking, with changing buses 4 times), I saw groups of demonstrators from whom I couldn’t tell if they were pro and anti. A keepa would mean pro-Bibi, a rainbow flag means anti-reform. We’re with Bibi, one guy said. I tested it. I began singing very happily: Netanyahu out of a job [‘Bibi habaita’] and they liked the first part but not the second word so they didn’t know what to do with it and so proved to be pro-Bibi.
Don’t forget the unprecedented number of demonstrators and declared strikes forced Netanyahu to not continue for now. He did not ‘prevent a civil war.’ He just postponed losing his job and possibly going to jail. There was no civil war in the cards. The whole country would have come to a standstill until he would stop. He had no choice. We won—for now.
As I’ve predicted for weeks now, this coalition lost its majority big time. The latest poll shows a loss of ten seats, from 64 to 54 out of 120 seats.
Don’t forget that the whole world was watching. We showed that a free People can stop bigots that infiltrated a democracy. So proud of us. Even while democracy’s professionals are totally confused. The High Court letting bigots stand in elections, sit in the Knesset, and enter government. Even when the AG says that a top-bigot may have repented while he sat with a disqualified top-bigot together in a public forum just two years ago. But why speculate? Let’s wait and see if he orders the police to arrest and bring to justice those Likud thugs who beat up Muslims yesterday.
Stay alert. Leopards do not change their spots. They will try again. Only a million demonstrators must show up in 10 minutes. For us, no problem!
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