Supreme Court suspends appointment of IDF chief rabbi over opinions including women’s issues

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has suspended the appointment of the chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, saying Col. Eyal Karim must first clarify some of his controversial remarks.

The court’s ruling on Monday comes in response to a petition filed by the left-wing Meretz Party, and two days before the scheduled induction ceremony for the rabbi.

The temporary injunction issued by the court requires Karim to file a deposition clarifying his past comments and his current positions on issues including the rape of non-Jewish women during war-time, when soldiers can refuse orders and on homosexuality.

Karim was named to the position in July. He reportedly has been training under the current IDF chief rabbi since he was nominated.

Karim has said that his statements about wartime rape were strictly theoretical and dealt with a specific biblical passage. Several other statements made in the question and answer section of the religious news website Kipa  deal with women’s issues such as not conscripting women in to the IDF and not allowing women to sing at IDF events, or allowing religious male soldiers to leave if they do so.

Karim has apologized for and clarified some of his remarks. At the time of his appointment he told the IDF Personnel Directorate, according to Ynet: “There is no license in times of peace or war to sexually assault women.”  He also said that he supported and believed that women could serve in the military.  He pointed out that he served on the he committee that established the protocol that requires soldiers to be present at events where women sing. He said he has ordered soldiers present at such events not to leave.

The Tzohar Rabbinical organization said in a statement that it opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to hold up the appointment.

“The role of a rabbi in Israel is to adjudicate based on his insights and knowledge of Torah matters.  The decision of who to appoint as IDF Chief Rabbi should not be based on where he lives or his personal opinions.  In our judgment, it would be prudent for the Supreme Court to review any intent to nullify his appointment,” the statement issued Monday said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)