I've been holding myself back from writing this article for quite a while now, because I figured it would come across as... well... somewhat weird. But here goes anyways:

If you examine the way our nation comports itself vis-a-vis its enemies, one can't help but notice that some of the Israeli government's most critical decisions, as far as the IDF's deterrence is concerned, were taken because our statesmen could not stand firm in the face of pressure exerted by Jewish mothers. The first example is the infamous prisoner exchange with Ahmed Jibril?s terror organization in 1985.

Yoel Marcus, in a Haaretz Op-Ed piece from last week, recalls that in its previous wars, Israel had followed a policy of returning one enemy prisoner for every one Israeli prisoner returned.

?The turning point came in the Jibril deal in 1985, in which 1,150 terrorists, including the worst murderers, were exchanged for three soldiers,? recalls Marcus. ?After the fact, (then-Defense Minister) Yitzhak Rabin admitted that he was unable to withstand the pressure applied by the parents - especially that of Miriam Grof (Grof, the mother of redheaded, na?ve-eyed ?Yoskeh? Grof, conducted a relentless campaign for the return of her son in the media and government circles - G.R.)? The Jibril deal taught the Arabs that Israel would buckle under pressure, exposed its Achilles heel - its sensitivity to casualties - and in many observers? opinions ignited the first Intifadah.?

The second case in point is the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 - a move made after a prolonged and effective campaign mounted by a group called Four Mothers, that had as its nucleus a group of women whose sons were serving in Lebanon. Israel?s most powerful women journalists - like Shelly Yehimovich (who hosted Israel Radio?s main news/talk program) and Karmela Menashe (Kol Israel?s military correspondent) - were not just openly sympathetic to the group, they seemed at times to be full-fledged participants in the campaign. The Four Mothers campaign?s slogan was ?bring the children back home?. Not ?the men?, not even ?the boys?; ?The children?. Would a group called Four Mothers have been taken seriously in a debate over defense policy in any other country? I doubt it.

Just as many see a causal link between the Jibril deal and the first Intifadah, so do many blame the withdrawal from Lebanon - and the hurried way in which it was conducted - for the outbreak of the present terror war.

My thesis is that the Jewish people underwent a process of deformation during the Diaspora generations, and that this deformation manifests itself, inter alia, in a weakening of the status of the male paterfamilias, and in an unhealthy, extreme dominance of the female/mother figure. I readily accept the feminist definition of ?patriarchy?. But what I?m saying is that, as far as the Jews are concerned - and this is especially true of the Ashkenazi Jews - the ?patriarchy? ceased calling the shots dozens of generation ago. It was then that the matriarchy stepped into the leadership void (if you don?t know what I?m talking about, read Portnoy?s Complaint).

Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel were revolutionary events, but revolutions of the national spirit take more than one generation to accomplish. It seems that as soon as the effects of ideological Zionism wore off, we went back to our Diaspora-Jew habits. And it was the Sabra, Israeli-born leaders who have proved most susceptible to the yiddishe mame: I have a hard time picturing Menachem Begin or David Ben-Gurion succumbing to Miriam Grof?s pressure. But Yitzhak Rabin did. The heroic commander of 1948 and 1967 could not stand up to Yoskeh?s mother and say ?no?. Ariel Sharon also shed a tear in a meeting with a parent of one of the MIAs currently held by Hizbullah. The MIAs families? campaign slogan? ?Mother is waiting at home?.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with a leader who is able to shed a tear in empathy with an MIA?s parent. But somehow, I can?t see a George Bush or a Tony Blair deciding to release thousands of dangerous enemy prisoners just because the mother of an American MIA pressured him to do so. Can you?

Our dear, beloved women are fully aware of the hypnotic power that the word ?mother? has on the Jewish male. Witness, for instance, the recent media blitz mounted by the women?s lobby - during the recent brief lull in the terror war - to protest the Treasury?s decision to cut some of the generous benefits given to divorced and single mothers. The campaign featured a march on Jerusalem by a group of women, under the manipulative slogan, ?the mothers? anguish?.

I said earlier that this was a primarily Ashkenazi problem, and it is noteworthy that the only ministers who opposed the above-mentioned prisoner swaps were Sephardic ones: Yitzhak Navon opposed the Jibril deal, and Shaul Mofaz opposes the current deal with Hizbullah.

We?ve established a state after 2,000 years of Diaspora. We have settled the land and established an army. It appears that this is not enough. This nation needs to somehow detach itself from the warm embrace of its collective galut (diaspora) mother, to gather courage and be a man. We need to re-establish the ?patriarchy?. Or maybe we just need a Sephardic prime minister.