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Eyal Moshe Karim (He: איל קרים) (born February 8, 1957) is the head of the Military Rabbinate of the Israel Defense Forces. Karim's appointment was met with controversy due to various statements he had previously made about rape in wartime and women serving in the military.

Karim being awarded the rank of brigadier general

Karim in 1998

Early life and career[edit | edit source]

Karim grew up in Givatayim, Israel, and studied at Yeshivat Bnei Akiva. In August 1975, after he was drafted to the IDF, He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade, and in 1985 became an infantry officer after completing Officer Candidate School. Haliva fought as a platoon leader at the 202 paratroop battalion and as a company commander. In 1981 he took leave of absence and studied at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. After the Lebanon war he served as commander of a detachment in Sayeret Matkal. In 1983–1984 he served as commander of the paratroops. In 1985–2005, he served as a commander with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Division of Fire in reserve.

From 1985 to 1994, he studied at Ateret Cohanim. From 1995 to 1999, he served as Rosh in preparing pre-military yeshiva and later was appointed head of the preparatory position that he held until 2004.

In 2006, Avichai Rontzki, the chief military rabbi, responded to Karim's appeal and he returned to the army. Upon his return served as head of the appropriate combination, and then as head of the field operations.

Appointment as Chief Rabbi of the IDF[edit | edit source]

In 2016, Karim was nominated to serve as the head of the Military Rabbinate of the IDF. The nomination was criticized over remarks made in 2002 in which Karim appeared to suggest that soldiers were allowed to rape gentiles during wartime and that women were forbidden from serving in the IDF.[1] After the controversy, Karim said that his remarks about rape during wartime were not meant to apply in the modern era.[1] Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said Karim was not "suitable" for the role because of the remarks. Yair Lapid said Karim should disavow his remarks in regards to feor he should not be the chief military rabbi.[1]

Later that year, more controversy arose after further comments from Karim were unearthed. Karim said women were inherently unreliable to give testimony in court, that gay people should be treated as "sick or deformed" individuals, and that Palestinian attackers should not be treated as human beings, but as "animals."[2]

Galon, along with two fellow Meretz members of Knesset, brought a petition to the Supreme Court of Israel to prevent Karim's appointment. The court suspended Karim's appointment and asked him to clarify his remarks.[3] In November 2016, the Meretz MKs released a statement saying they accepted Karim's explanation and withdrew their petition.[3]

In December 2016, Karim was sworn in as IDF chief rabbi.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

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