Many years ago, a wonderful fighter for the Jewish people, Shifra Hoffman z”l, coined a term which I never forgot. She said that our leader, Moshe Rabbeinu, referred to the Jewish nation as “a stiff-necked people” (Shemot 34:9). Now, however, we have become “a short-necked people”. She explained this to mean that when things get difficult for our nation and we reach out to our leaders for help, they put their hands and shoulders up, making their necks very short and say; “Sorry, but what can we do?”
I saw this “short neck” from Major General Yehuda Fuchs, head of IDF’s Central Command. He is responsible for security in the most dangerous areas of Israel. I realize that this is not a simple job and I appreciate the work being done by thousands of soldiers in these areas, but the Major General must give better answers during these challenging days. Instead of assuring Israelis that the difficult situation will be under control, his interviews - after the most recent wave of terror attacks - have been one big: “What can we do?”
Comments such as “We have never seen such violence” or “Thousands of people are working day and night to provide security to the residents of Israel” serve no purpose whatsoever. We know our soldiers are working hard - and we pray for their success – but that does not help the 200+ cars that are getting stoned daily on the roads in Judea and Samaria. Those quotes do not comfort the families who are sitting – and have sat – shiva for loved ones murdered on the roads. We want to see results, not hear sound-bites.
“Short-neck syndrome” means refusing to do the non-politically correct work that needs to be done. When leaders fear the morning newspaper more than the enemy, the task will remain unfulfilled. Every IDF soldier knows what they must do but their hands are tied and weapons locked for fear of being condemned by the ungrateful nations of the world. Israeli leaders - both political and military – are afraid to straighten up their necks, hold their heads high and fight the battles according to Torah values.
Over and over again the Torah tells us how to fight the enemy, but these guidelines don’t fit well in the “play-nice” world of 2023. Why is it that 95% of UN countries treat their enemies as the Torah instructs but when it comes to Israel – the nation that brought the Torah to the world – we have to shoot rubber bullets and ask permission to defend ourselves?
Rabbi Meir Kahane used to say that the IDF should fire rubber bullets, when the Arabs throw rubber rocks… but that will never happen. The violence is getting worse, and our leadership needs to step up their game. No more “short necks”! No more “what can we do?” The time has come for the Jewish fist… and for the Jewish army to use everything at their disposal to end the violence and bring security to Eretz Yisrael.