Rabbi Karim and President Rivlin
Rabbi Karim and President Rivlin Amos Ben-Gershom/ La'am

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted on Sunday morning the swearing-in ceremony of IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Eyal Karim.

Also attending the ceremony were representatives of the Chief Rabbinate, and in addition to pledging loyalty to the army, Rabbi Karim became a member of the Chief Rabbinate's Council.

After Rabbi Karim pledged loyalty and signed the affirmation, Rivlin blessed him saying, "There are things we are born with, such as our birthdays. You, Rabbi Karim, were born on a special day, the seventh day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day on which Moses was born and passed away.

"Moses connected leadership with Torah, wisdom with greatness, heaven with earth. You are about to begin the task of your lifetime - to connect Torah and the IDF, study halls with training bases, the will of the IDF with the Israeli public's will to integrate as many communities as possible into the Israeli army.

"You will connect between haredi and religious soldiers and help them preserve their lifestyle.

"Your task to unite these elements is no less complicated than Moses' job. He had no Chief of Staff above him, he had no government and Chief Rabbis and yeshiva deans and advisers, and he also had no media lying in wait for him to inadvertently say something wrong.

"On the other hand, Moses did not have a Chief of Staff next to him, and did not have rabbis to consult with if he had a problem. He had no yeshiva deans or advisers to counsel him, and he had no media to spread his message and willingness to listen to each and every soldier. You have all of these important tools.

"In the past year, there have been several crises. The relationship between the religious community and the IDF has seen ups and downs. The IDF cannot afford this, because its commanders cannot waste energy on this issue; Israel's security cannot afford it.

"Our neighbors and those who wish to harm us will not allow us to expend energy on internal politics, and I am happy our Chief of Staff is working to solve the issue. I am happy, Rabbi Eyal, that you are the one who will stand at his right side, to advise and counsel him.

"With your appointment to the Chief Rabbinate's Council, we pray G-d will bless you and shine His face upon you and favor you. May G-d turn His face to you, and give you and all our soldiers peace," Rivlin concluded.

Rabbi Karim thanked Rivlin for his words and said, "Hearing this is not just a privilege, but a duty. Israel has freedom of speech, but only a few are willing to truly listen. I am now taking my place as a member of the Chief Rabbinate's Council, and I pray all of us will listen properly and know not just when to speak, but when to open our ears and listen, understand, and think so that we will be able to change what is necessary."

Rabbi Karim in the President's Residence (Amos Ben Gershom/ La'am)