Military rabbinate ‘folding’ to Reform Judaism, report says

A senior official within the military Rabbinate blasted Chief Rabbi of the IDF Eyal Karim, saying he “folded” to pressure from outside groups.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The military rabbinate is “folding” to pressure from Reform Jews and will soon allow Reform rabbis to conduct military burial ceremonies, reported religious news site 404 News.

The development comes on the heels of a petition from Hiddush, a left-wing organization funded by the New Israel Fund, which describes itself as working to create an Israel in which “Judaism blossoms in all its nuanced shades and colors.”

The petition, filed in order to “end the military Rabbinate’s monopoly” over military burials of Jewish soldiers, asked for the IDF to allow Reform rabbis to lead the funeral service if requested by the fallen soldier’s family.

An unnamed senior official within the military Rabbinate blasted Chief Rabbi of the IDF Eyal Karim, saying he “folded” to pressure from outside groups.

The official told 404 News, “It is sad to see how Eyal Karim takes loss after loss. On his watch, extremist organizations are shifting the status quo…. on Halachic matters such as mixed [gender] units, Kashrut, military burials, and more.”

Halacha refers to the body of Jewish laws derived from the Torah as well as Talmudic and rabbinic law.

“He claims that he is independent and unaffected by pressures, but…the actions and petitions of the New Israel Fund prove time and time again the destructive effect of these pressures on the considerations of those [deciding] religious matters in the IDF,” said the official.

“The vast majority of the IDF is traditional and religious, and this harms many soldiers and desecrates the sanctity of military cemeteries. It is a pity that Rabbi Karim does not seek assistance from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and [instead] gives a hand to precedents that harm the IDF, Judaism, and the entire country.”

Hiddush hailed the development as a victory on their website.

“After years of working to oblige the IDF to end the military Rabbinate’s monopoly over the military burials of Jews, and after Hiddush filed a petition with the Supreme Court on the matter, it became clear to the military that it would have to concede,” read a statement on Hiddush’s site.

“The IDF announced that new ordinances, approved by Hiddush, would be published within a few months… Hiddush’s additional reminders and threats were needed, until, ‘quietly, quietly’ the IDF finally issued the amended ordinances more than a year after committing to do so.”

“Now it remains to follow up on this and to make sure that in the sad and difficult event of a soldier’s death, the military authorities will make it clear to his family that they have a choice for the very first time.”