Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim served in the Sayeret Matkal Special Forces Unit.
(photo credit: IDF)
After a tumultuous path to the job, Rabbi Eyal Karim was sworn into office as the IDF chief rabbi and elevated to the rank of brigadier- general.
Karim’s nomination was beset by controversy after rulings and responses to questions of Jewish law he gave between 2002 and 2003 generated controversy as well as an appeal to the High Court of Justice against his appointment.
Karim was sworn in to office in the presence of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan and chief rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, among other dignitaries.
Speaking during the event, the chief of staff said that despite the revelations and objections to Karim, he was “never in any doubt that Rabbi Karim was the right appointment.”
Continued Eisenkot “We have appointed the most appropriate man to lead the Military Rabbinate in cooperation and responsibility in order to build a stronger IDF.”
Ben-Dahan welcomed Karim’s appointment, and was critical of the objections to his nomination calling the delay “unnecessary” and born out of posturing for the media.
“We knew then and we know today that you are the right person for the job,” the deputy minister told Karim.
“I hope that you will bring all IDF soldiers closer to Jewish ethics and to Jewish heritage,” he added.
Karim enlisted to the IDF in 1975 to the Paratroop Brigade as a combat solider, and eventually became an officer and platoon commander.
He took part in Operation Mobil against a terrorist base in Lebanon, and served as an operations officer for the Paratroop Brigade during the First Lebanon War.
After his army service, Karim studied in the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva where he gained rabbinic ordination, and in 2006 he returned to the IDF and the Military Rabbinate.