Next IDF Chief Rabbi declares prohibition of wartime rape after previous misunderstandings

The chosen candidate to become the next Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces submitted an affidavit to the Israeli Supreme Court regarding his past statements about wartime rape and his views about the LGBT community and the integration of women into additional combat units.
Rabbi Eyal Karim to become next IDF Chief Rabbi Photo Credit: Bamachaneh/Channel 2 News

This evening (Wednesday), the next IDF Chief Rabbi, Eyal Karim, submitted an affidavit to the Israeli Supreme Court in which he clarified his position regarding controversial statements he made in the past: "I was wrong to briefly answer complex questions that have more than one religious interpretation; and it was wrong that I never clearly stated my own stance, which hurt some people."

Karim commented on many issues about which he may not have given a clear opinion, primarily the rape of women during war. He stated: "Never have I said, written or even thought that IDF soldiers are allowed to rape women during war. In my opinion, it is completely prohibited for soldiers to commit these acts. That was my view and is my view still today."

In his declaration, Karim also discusses his stance on LGBT soldiers. He wrote: "On two points I cannot change my opinion: the first being that the Torah completely prohibits homosexuality; the second being my unequivocal position that all people, including those in the LGBT community, need to be treated with love, support and inclusion. It is forbidden to hurt them in general and within the IDF. The IDF is a national army and the soldiers who serve do so without regard to their identity, sexuality or gender. Everyone should treat and be treated as equals."

With regards to the integration of women into additional combat units, Karim said: "My role in joining the Military Rabbinate is to find a religiously allowed manner to help integrate more women into the IDF. Thus, I have instructed all rabbinical sites that are under my responsibility that it is our duty to provide complete and faithful rabbinical access to every female soldier serving in the IDF who is interested in it. Again and again, I emphasized: every uniformed soldier, male or female, is part of our national army and we are fully responsible for him or her."

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