U.K. Jewish Leaders Condemn New IDF Chief Rabbi's Remarks About Rape

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Eyal Karim.
Eyal Karim.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Leading Jewish figures in the United Kingdom have condemned the Israeli military's naming of a far-right chief rabbi as “misguided and harmful,” Jewish News Online reports on Thursday.

Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot named Col. Eyal Karim earlier this week and stuck by the appointment despite a public outcry in Israel against the rabbi’s controversial remarks, inlcuding oppossing of the service of women soldiers in the IDF, while suggesting Jewish law sanctioned rape in wartime, that wounded terrorists should be killed and that homosexuals are disabled.

The heads of Reform, Liberal and Masorti Judaism in Britain wrote Eisenkot that Karim’s view of rape had “no place in modern society.”

“The impact of words so misguided and harmful cannot be washed away by the passing of time,” Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Liberal Judaism’s co-chairs Rabbis Alexandra Wright and Richard Jacobi wrote.

“The impact of words so misguided and harmful cannot be washed away by the passing of time,” the rabbis wrote, according to the report.

 “As rabbinic leaders we fiercely refute the notion that any part of Jewish law has condoned the use of rape in wartime,” they added.

The IDF said on Wednesday Eisenkot had discussed the controversy with Karim. Karim promised that under his leadership, the military rabbinate would respect all people regardless of their religion, race and sexual orientation. Karim said further that he "sees the army as the people's army that accepts all recruits, whoever they might be."

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