After the High Court of Justice (HCJ) issued a temporary injunction delaying the appointment of Col. Eyal Karim as the IDF chief rabbi, those surrounding the controversial figure are already putting together his response to the court, which he is expected to file within the next two days. It seems that he has no intention of renouncing his previous statements.
Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and Justices Salim Jubran and Neal Hendel were the panel that ordered Karim to submit clarify his past comments and current position. Karim came under public fire when his past religious rulings permitted raping women in wartime, opposing female conscription, called gay people "sick or deformed," and ruled that soldiers must at times disobey military orders that conflict with Jewish law.
The changeover ceremony for the chief rabbi was scheduled for Wednesday, but it was later confirmed that it would be postponed by the IDF.
According to those close to Karim, the colonel's affidavit will specify that part of the statements attributed to him were done so incorrectly, his not having said or written some. Those that he did write, he is to submit, are legitimate rabbinical interpretation of Jewish law, so long as they do not influence his performance in his assigned role with the public he serves.
Practically, the response that Karim is expected to file with the HCJ will be a sort of legal version of that which he already said to Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot in the clarification meeting that the two had after the rabbi's comments received public attention.
Karim is convinced that the HCJ will accept his clarifications, as did the chief of staff, but the military and state rabbinates are also preparing for what would be a pessimistic scenario for them. Rabbis from different departments—those who are associated with Karim's controversial stances and those who are not, both inside and outside the IDF—are already preparing a joint declaration that none of them would accept the position of IDF chief rabbi if Karim's appointment is cancelled, due to what they consider a violation of the Torah and the rabbinate's academic freedom.