Israel’s military has nominated a new chief rabbi who allowed in a past religious edict Israeli soldiers to rape non-Jewish women at wartime.
Rabbi Colonel Eyal Karim’s appointment drew criticism on Tuesday from women’s groups and a prominent female politician. They pointed to a reply Karim gave in 2002 to a question about the Bible’s attitude towards rape during war.
He responded that in the interest of maintaining warriors’ morale and fighting fitness during armed conflict, it was permitted to “satisfy the evil inclination by lying with attractive Gentile women against their will”.
His nomination on Monday as the military’s head rabbi by its chief of staff revived public debate over Karim.
Yedioth Ahronoth, Hebrew newspaper, on Tuesday weighed in with a front-page headline that read: “New chief military rabbi: rape is permissible in a war”.
Israeli female MKs threatened to go to the Israeli Attorney General in order to object the appointment. Meanwhile, other women announced their intent to contact the chief of staff in order to demand the cancellation of the nomination.