Dear Friends of the National YWCA of Palestine,
We send you summer greetings post Ramadan from very warm Jerusalem. We are writing to you today to alert you to a recent threat against our young girls and women.
As many of you, know the right wing settler Avigdor Lieberman is Israel’s new Defense Minister. He has made many provocative statements and now appointments including choosing Colonel Eyal Karim as the chief Rabbi. Rabbi Karim has stated publically, in writing, that it is not only permissible but good for the troop’s morale to allow soldiers to rape non-Jewish women during times of war. Ironically, Rabbi Karim is against the enlistment of Jewish women into the IDF because it can do harm to their modesty.
The YWCA of Palestine has spent the past few years working on UN Resolution 1325 which calls specifically for the protection of girls and women from sexual or gender based violence and especially in a situation of Occupation, war and conflict. We consider a Chief Rabbi that advocates for the rape of women more than an existential threat. We agree with MK Aida Touma-Sliman (from the Joint Arab List) that “Col. Karim’s ruling on permitting raping non- Jewish women is similar to the fatwa of a murderous organization that’s not so far from Israel’s borders. We second her recommendation that the attorney general must oppose this appointment. We also applaud the words of the chairperson of Na’amat —Movement of Working Women & Volunteers, Galia Wolloch, who said, “Anyone who thinks that rape is okay as a morale-booster for soldiers, so long as it’s of gentile women, cannot lead the army to good moral and spiritual places.”
Please stand with us and the women of Palestine against the appointment of Colonel Eyal Karim as Chief Rabbi for all the reasons listed above. If UNSCR1325 means anything it must include speaking out against anyone who thinks rape is acceptable under any circumstances.
This is what gender based violence looks like in practice. Thank you for sharing this information and standing with us. Please let us know if you will take any action or need further support/ information.
National General Secretary
YWCA of Palestine