The Women’s Lobby in Israel is fuming over comments made by the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Eyal Karim, regarding the drafting of female soldiers.
According to a report that appeared in Israel Hayyom, the Chief Rabbi addressed the issue of female combat soldiers during a speech he was making to students in a pre-military academy. “Instead of drinking coffee in Dizengoff, they are willing to sacrifice of themselves and protect a border that no terrorist has crossed for the past 2,000 years.”
The Chief Rabbi also angered women’s rights organizations when he referred to brigadier general Ofek Buchris as, “A man who had served in the most important of roles and is a true God-fearing person.” Buchris had been convicted of committing serious acts of assault after agreeing to a plea bargain.
Following the remarks, the women’s lobby sent a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot demanding Karim’s resignation.
In a public statement spokespeople for the Women’s Lobby said: “The Cheif Rabbi of the IDF made degrading comments regarding the value of the work that female combat soldiers perform in the IDF in front a group of future soldiers. In doing so, he exposed his chauvinistic views, the time form which has long since passed, with regards to the place of women in society at large. There is no place for these comments in the IDF, and no place for them in any government-supported institution. It seems that the Chief Rabbi of the IDF n longer recognizes his place nor his responsibilities to all of the soldiers in the IDF, including the female ones. Based on his previous comments, and the resistance that was provoked by the appointments which he makes, it appears that the ugly truth has once again reared its head: The IDF appoints traditionalist and dangerous men to sensitive positions, whose influence harms the good name of the female soldiers who serve their country proudly.”
MK Merav Michaeli also called for the IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Eyal Karim to be fired: “He said disparaging, humiliating, and offensive things toward women, and encouraged the separation of men and women and turning the army into a religious army,” she claims.
Speaking with the Srugim dati leumi website, Michaeli added, “It encourages the separation of men and women and turns the army into a religious army.” Later, it places the responsibility on the chief of staff and the senior command, who are “dismissed by Netanyahu, who is selling everything to stay in power.”
Why dismiss the Rabbi Karim? Regarding matters of controversy, he simply stated his opinion, speaking out reasonably.
Michaeli does not agree, insisting Rabbi Karim speaks out in a defamatory tone regarding women, and even more, as is the norm for these rabbis, this is their way of preparing students in prepatory programs, speaking out to influence their attitude towards women serving.
She adds that she can document Rabbi Karim has “prohibited soldiers from ordering food they wish from outside the army (not referring to the kitchen), encourages separation between men and women, encourages turning the IDF into a religious army, he has exploited his authority for sexual assault, promotes inequality in the army not only for women, but also for non-religious soldiers, and promotes preferences and privileges for religious soldiers.”
“In a democratic nation – also a Jewish state – a person receiving his salary from the state made not speak and do such things. I am calling for his dismissal as I called for the dismissal of other rabbonim who spoke out in a similar fashion.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)