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

Yarmuka Off?

Everyone questioned why US President Trump’s envoy Orthodox Jew Jason Greenblatt, before starting his first round of facilitating peacemaking in the Middle East, took off his yarmulka. Was it to show that he’s impartial between Jews and Muslim Palestinians?

The truth is that Israelis don’t care.

In Europe and elsewhere lawyers, politicians and others struggle heavily with the question how much people could show or advocate their religion on the street or at the beach or how much they should hide it during work hours. However, the average Israel does not give a hoot.

  • When we call a company’s service number, we are thoroughly uninterested if we are helped by Moshe, Machmud, John, Illia and what their accents are, as long as we understand them and they understand us and can help us.
  • Our doctors can be veiled, yarmuka-ed, decked out with crosses, have giant beards, side curls or be bareheaded, as long as they are good physicians.
  • The person at the window of the post office can seem a communist, ultra-Orthodox, a Christian Palestinian, a religious Jewish Ethiopian, a Russian environmentalist or a Turkish Jewish new immigrant, as long as they help us well.

No one will see them as representing their beliefs or background at work. Rather, they do their job, represent their employer but do not need to hide their personal way of life, their marital status, gender, etc.

No one in Israel will think that civil servants who do not hide their religion make a statement against the separation between state and religion. No one.

Harry Kissinger never took off his nose to look more impartial.

So we can be completely sure about the meaning behind Jason Greenblatt taking off his yarmulka. He’s not Israeli.

About the Author
To subscribe to his daily blog posts, click on the circle next to the blogger's picture, containing a dot with two quarter circles around it (the Feed Computer icon). * 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 He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will.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.
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