A 59-year-old colonel appointed as the next Chief Rabbi for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has attracted heavy criticisms in the Israeli parliament, following his unguarded statement that it’s permissible for women to be raped during wartime.
Col. Eyal Karim is said to be infamous for his misogynistic leanings.
The controversial rabbi reportedly gives lessons on a religious website Kipa, where he answers questions from the audience.
One of the questions thrown at him asks: “What are the problems with conscripting girls to the army?”
Karim followed up with an answer, saying: “In a situation that existed, such as in the War of Independence, that exposed the nation of Israel to an existential threat, and the reality is defined as actually pikuach nefesh [a Jewish concept that obligates believers to save a life in jeopardy, even if religious boundaries must be crossed] then women also participated in defending the people and the country, even though the reality wasn’t so modest.
“But currently, we aren’t in a situation of actual pikuach nefesh.”
He continued: “Because the damage to modesty that is likely to be caused to a girl and to the nation is decisive, the greats of the generation and the chief rabbinate have ruled that girls serving in the IDF is completely forbidden.”
As is normal with the media always looking for loopholes where there seem to have existed perfection, the rabbi was asked if it’s acceptable for soldiers to rape women during war.
Karim’s answer to the question was greeted with disgust all over the country, with many suggesting that his appointment be revoked.
He said: “Soldiers are allowed to ‘breach’ notions of modesty and satisfy the evil inclination by lying with attractive Gentile women against their will, out of consideration for the difficulties faced by the soldiers and for overall success.”
Karim is replacing Gen. Rafi Peretz, who is leaving after serving as chief rabbi for six years, reported Sputnik News.
The incoming rabbi is alleged to have declared in 2011, that women should not sing at IDF ceremonies, citing Jewish law in defense of the assertion.
He wrote: “It’s desirable to create a ceremonial post that respects the views of all those present at the ceremony, and, to that end, to bring a male and not a female singer…
“When this would not be possible, due to various reasons, those whose sensitivities would be offended must be excused from attending the ceremony.”
Image: Israeli national flag
Following the widespread condemnation on Karim’s misogynistic leanings, his appointment seem to be posing a big threat against women. There’s fear that he will do more harm than good, holding the position of a Chief Rabbi for the IDF.
Therefore, women’s rights groups, and many others, have joined hands in calling for his new appointment to be revoked.
MK Aida Touma-Sliman, head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, said: “Col. Karim’s ruling on permitting raping non-Jewish women is similar to the fatwa of a murderous organization that’s not so far from Israel’s borders.
“I will contact the attorney general and oppose the appointment, and I call on female and male members of Knesset to join my request.”