MKs must make every effort to lobby against anticircumcision resolutions, Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) said Monday.
“No one can force us and Diaspora Jewry to follow certain religious values and not others. We should be allowed to observe all Jewish customs,” Razbozov stated.
“If necessary, we will instruct embassies to hold circumcision ceremonies on their territory, which is Israeli sovereign territory.”
Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution calling male ritual circumcision “a violation of the physical integrity of children” and that states should protect children “against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards.”
Razbozov said MKs will use all of their diplomatic tools to prevent the PACE resolution from becoming law, such as calling their counterparts in European countries personally.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor), leader of the Knesset delegation to PACE, explained that the anti-circumcision motion was not on the agenda in advance, so MKs were not prepared to fight it.
Shai suggested that Israel explain to Europe the significance of circumcision to the Jewish people, and that the government cooperate with Turkey, which, as a Muslim country, is also harmed by the decision.
“Israel and Jewish organizations’ efforts must be focused on taking circumcision out of the child rights decision,” Shai stated.
Knesset diplomatic adviser Oded Ben-Hur explained that PACE does not have any power to enforce decisions, but its recommendations are taken seriously in member parliaments.
When asked about cooperation with Muslim countries, Ben-Hur said Israel cannot discuss it openly.
Chief Rabbinate directorgeneral Oded Wiener read a letter from Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef to PACE: “Circumcision is one of the foundations of Judaism. Of all of our commandments, it most characterizes our religion and makes it unique from the rest of the world...We ask you from the depths of our hearts to cancel this decision.”
MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said modern democracies recognize freedom of religion, and that circumcision kept Judaism alive.
“The minute the Europeans harm circumcision, they’re saying they don’t want the Jews to exist,” Eichler stated.