Israel's chief military rabbi backtracks on 'rape women fatwa'

Israel's chief military rabbi backtracks on 'rape women fatwa'
A chief Israeli rabbi has backtracked and apologised for a religious edict allowing soldiers to rape non-Jewish women during a time of war after backlash from officials.
2 min read
14 July, 2016
The soon-to-be chief rabbi of Israel's military received backlash for the controversial edict [Getty]

The Israeli military's soon-to-be chief rabbi apologised for an earlier religious ruling allowing soldiers to rape Arab women during a period of war.

Eyol Shlomo Karim declared Israeli troops are allowed to "sexually assault" non-Jewish women during a conflict to boost their morale, prompting backlash from the international community, as well as right-wing Jewish parties in Israel that condemned the move.

 “There is no licence in times of peace or war to sexually assault women,” rabbi Karim said after being forced to apologise amid the backlash.

The religious edict discussed the role of the Israeli army – frequently described as the most morale in the world – stating "it is permitted to breach the walls of modesty and satisfy the evil inclination by lying with attractive gentile women against their will, out of consideration for the difficulties faced by the soldiers and for overall success.”

“This edict is a serious slip for the Israeli chief rabbinical authority and a mere racist crime where Karim’s apology is an undeniable indictment against him,” said Adnan Abu Rabei, head of the Popular Committee in support of Palestine inside the Green Line.

“By gentile woman [Eyal] means Arab Palestinian woman as the Israelis believe they are in a state of war with the Palestinians,” he said.

“Karim could apologise for days on end, but that would not eliminate his thought and belief,” said Abu Rabei.

“This permission from the chief military rabbi will surely motivate the soldiers to commit rape,” he said. “All the Israeli institutions should carefully study and assess the possible implications of this edict.”

The Israeli military's former chief rabbi also weighed in on the criticism, suggesting “Karim needs to realise that he is the head rabbi of the Israeli army and behave accordingly. These statements do not represent him at all.”

Rabbi Karim has targeted the Arab [Palestinian] woman in his edict, permitting Israeli soldiers to rape gentile women during wartime, alleged Abu Rabei. Almost every war Israel has fought has been against Arabs.