IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot gave his backing to the embattled appointee to the IDF Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Eyal Karim, insisting that the nomination stands.
The two met Wednesday afternoon to discuss Rabbi Karim's nomination and the subsequent campaign mounted by prominent left-wing figures and politicians to block the confirmation of the appointment.
During the meeting, the two discussed Rabbi Karim's past statements and religious rulings, and the fierce opposition to his nomination they have inspired. After the talk, Eizenkot reaffirmed Rabbi Karim's appointment, saying he remained the army's choice for IDF Chief Rabbi.
"Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim served as an IDF combat soldier commander for 19 years in the frontline units of the army," an army spokesperson reported Eizenkot as saying. "As a rabbi and man of religious law he is a leader and is widely accepted. The books Rabbi Karim signed on to and the religious rulings he has issued show he is oriented towards the State [of Israel] and takes into consideration those serving in the IDF."
Responding to criticisms made regarding Rabbi Karim's past statements over the service of women in the army, an IDF spokesperson noted that "Over the past decade Rabbi Karim has acted and made rulings permitting joint service and integration of women into the IDF. Karim emphasized [during the meeting] that he sees a need and obligation for women to be drafted into the army."
Rabbi Karim clarified "beyond any doubt" during the meeting that he and all other members of the IDF were bound are fully obliged by the laws and spirit of the IDF.
"Rabbi Eyal Karim pledged that he would personally ensure that the IDF Chief Rabbinate would under his control respect every person regardless of differences in religion, race, or sexual preference, and that he believes the IDF must integrate all draftees, whomever they are."