Rabbis Peretz and Karim
Rabbis Peretz and KarimPhoto by Diana Hananshvili/Ministery of Defense

Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot made a decision today (Monday) to appoint Col. Rabbi Eyal Moshe Karim to the post of Chief Military Rabbi of the IDF. Rabbi Karim will replace Brigadier-General Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who will retire after six years in the post.

Rabbi Karim, 57, a former paratroopers special forces unit commander, will be promoted to Brigadier-General upon his appointment as Chief Military Rabbi.

Rabbi Karim grew up in Givatayim in a hassidic family and studied in the Nehalim yeshiva. He was drafted into the IDF in 1975, volunteered for the paratroopers and eventually became an officer in the 202 Battalion.

Later in life, Rabbi Karim took an unpaid leave to study in the Merkaz Harav yeshiva.

In 1981, he agreed to return to the paratroopers at the personal request of Paratroopers Brigade Commander Yoram Yair, to take part as a commander in operations in Lebanon, and later in the first Lebanon war.

After the war Rabbi Karim acted as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, and as paratroopers special forces commander. He then was discharged from the army and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the reserves.

The Rabbi then took a position as head of the pre-military academy in the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva, where he published a book dealing with matters of Jewish law in a military setting. When Rabbi Avichai Ronsky was appointed Chief Military Rabbi, Rabbi Karim answered his call to return and serve in a Rabbinical position in the IDF.