New Israeli army chief rabbi told to clarify contentious remarks

2016-11-21 23:02
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel's top court on Monday said the army's incoming chief rabbi could not be appointed until he explained homophobic and misogynistic remarks, including seemingly justifying raping gentile women in war.

Colonel Eyal Karim has until Wednesday to "clarify" his position to the High Court on issues he has raised in the past, a court spokesperson told AFP.

The court issued an interim order on Karim's appointment following an appeal by secular left-wing opposition party Meretz, in light of remarks that surfaced when the decision to make him the military's top rabbi was announced in July.

A military ceremony due to be held on Wednesday for Karim to take office was postponed following the court's decision, military sources later said.

Monday's decision was lauded by Meretz, but right-wing and religious politicians saw it as crude intervention in a military decision and a bid to hamper freedom of religion.

In 2002, when he was a civilian, Karim was asked about whether Jewish scripture permitted soldiers to rape non-Jewish civilians during wartime.

"Although intercourse with a female gentile is very grave, it was permitted during wartime out of consideration for the soldiers' difficulties," he wrote in an answer on a religious website.

In 2012, he issued a statement saying his comments had been taken out of context and that he was totally opposed to rape, arguing his statement referred to biblical times.

The army has also issued a statement saying Karim "has never written, said or even thought that an Israeli soldier is permitted to sexually assault a woman in war".

Thousands of women serve in the Israeli military, but Karim has also said he opposes this as it could damage them and the country "due to loss of modesty".

He has also suggested gay people were "sick and disabled" and should undergo medical treatment, and argued wounded Palestinian suicide attackers should be killed.

Under pressure to cancel his appointment, military chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said he "stood behind his decision" after meeting Karim who clarified his remarks.

Karim had stressed he supported enlistment for women, and that he and the rabbinate would respect any person, "regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation", said an army statement issued in July.

Karim, 59, is a former rabbi at the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem's Old City.

A former commander of an elite paratroop brigade, he is due to succeed Rafi Peretz, who has spent six years in the post.

Read more on:    israel  |  gay rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.