New IDF Chief Rabbi caught up in 'controversy'

IDF Personnel Directorate head calls Rabbi Karim for 'clarification conversation' regarding statements made by the rabbi 3 and 4 years ago.

Uzi Baruch ,

Rabbi Karim (on left), with outgoing Chief Military Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Karim (on left), with outgoing Chief Military Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Photo by Diana Hananshvili/Ministery of Defense

Yesterday's (Monday) appointment of Rabbi Eyal Karim as Chief Military Rabbi has stirred up some rehashed controversy.

Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Major-General Hagai Topolansky summoned Rabbi Karim for a conversation to clarify the rabbi's positions on issues raised by media and Knesset Members over the past 24 hours.

Statements made by Rabbi Karim in 2012 and 2013, the first regarding the religious status of women in war - said in the context of an academic Torah discussion - and the second regarding women serving in the IDF, made headlines at the time and gained widespread internet coverage. A Google search of Rabbi Karim's name brings up many articles and blog posts condemning these remarks, which is no doubt the reason these controversies were dug up by the media after the appointment was announced.

Rabbi Karim made clear to Major-General Topolansky that he was opposed to any violence against women and that he supported women serving in the IDF, as he had already done in response to the media firestorm following his original statements.

Rabbi Karim's appointment is one of several personnel decisions made by the Chief of Staff over the past few days, all subject to the approval of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.